Ten days before the South Korea-U.S. summit talk, Washington expressly asked Seoul to cooperate on the U.S.’ core foreign affairs and security policy. It has been interpreted by diplomatic experts as an explicit push to make South Korea more engaged in a row of U.S. allies amid the stark differences between the two sides in solutions regarding sanctions on North Korea and its denuclearization.
The U.S. State Department announced a press release on Monday (local time) on the results of the South Korea-U.S. diplomatic ministerial talks held on Friday, saying that the two nations declared their commitment to cooperation on the U.S.’ Indo-Pacific Strategy, South Korea's New Southern Policy and the trilateral cooperative relationship among the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. It is the first occasion for the U.S. State Department to mention both the Indo-Pacific Strategy and the trilateral cooperation in a press release announced after its diplomatic ministerial talks with South Korea. It has been analyzed that Washington makes it clear to Seoul that the trilateral cooperation has priority over the Korean government’s unilateral arbitration and that Seoul should side with Washington when the orders of Northeast Asia such as a peace system are put on the discussion table.
There is a gap between the U.S. administration’s implication and the announcements by the South Korean government. After the South Korea-U.S. summit talk in November 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump emphasized the importance of the South Korea-U.S. alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. In response, the South Korean presidential office explained that it did not mean that Seoul agreed with Washington’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.
Gi-Jae Han firstname.lastname@example.org