Suh Hoon, director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae, discussed solutions for the North Korean nuclear issues and cooperation between South Korea and the U.S. with his counterpart Jake Sullivan in a phone call on Saturday. Sullivan said that the South Korea-U.S. alliance was a “linchpin” of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region, which is interpreted as an emphasis on the need to keep China in check. The White House stated that Sullivan highlighted the importance of coordinating the North Korean nuclear issue between South Korea and the U.S.
“Both countries shared their assessment of recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and agreed to make efforts and discuss together to achieve peace and denuclearization of the region,” said Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok in a written briefing. “Sullivan said the alliance was a lynchpin of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and shared fundamental values such as democracy and legalism, and the U.S. would closely discuss with Korea on various matters.” U.S. President Joe Biden also emphasized South Korea as a “lynchpin of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region” in a phone call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in November after he was elected.
The fact that he highlighted it as an alliance sharing democracy and legalism can be interpreted as a message that South Korea should participate in putting pressure on China as it shares “democratic values” unlike China. “The South Korea-U.S. alliance is a lynchpin of peace and stability of Northeast Asia and the most exemplary alliance. We will closely cooperate to further develop it,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.