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Yoon to hold summit with Biden on May 21

Posted April. 29, 2022 07:38,   

Updated April. 29, 2022 07:38


A summit meeting between South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden is slated for May 21 in Seoul. It is an extremely swift high-level meeting, taking place only 11 days after Yoon will have been sworn in on May 10.

It is reported that President Joe Biden is preparing to give a speech on Asia in Seoul, which the first destination of his first Asian tour before Tokyo. Pundits say his move is designed to rally his allies by declaring Washington’s Indo-Pacific vision and strategy while visiting the Korean Peninsula, which closely adjoins China.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, the,said on Wednesday that President Biden wil visit South Kore and Japan from May 20 to May 24. “President Biden will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts: newly elected President Yoon Seok-youl of the Republic of Korea and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan,” the White House announced, adding, “His trip will advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s rock-solid commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and to U.S. treaty alliances with the Republic of Korea and Japan.”

Psaki added that it will build on more than a year of intensive diplomacy with the Indo-Pacific, including the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit on May 12-13 in Washington, D.C. This means Mr. Biden’s Asian tour is part of America’s Indo-Pacific strategies aimed at uniting his Asian allies against China.

Reportedly, President Biden is preparing to give a public speech during his visit to Korea, speaking towards his Asian allies. Last week, an advance party from Washington visited Seoul to explore potential venues for President Biden’s public speech, including major colleges in Seoul.

Considering the summit will take place right after Yoon’s inauguration, it is expected to produce cooperative messages on the alliance of the two nations, North Korea’s nuclear program, the economy, and national security. It is also likely that the two heads of state will discuss how to engage in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which will be driven by the Biden administration, and on how to improve Korea-Japan relations and strengthen the tripartite military cooperation among Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo. After the announcement by the White House, Bae Hyun-jin, the president-elect’s mouthpiece, said Mr. Yoon “welcomes President Biden’s plan to visit South Korea,” adding that the meeting will discuss a vast range of agenda such as advancement of ROK-U.S. alliance and their policy coordination towards Pyongyang, economic security, and other major regional and border-crossing issues.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com