Victor Cha, a senior advisor of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), argued on Wednesday that South Korea was invited to join the Quad, a strategic forum to keep China in check in economy and trade, but that it refused.
In an editorial carried in Foreign Policy, Victor Cha wrote that he heard from reliable sources that South Korea was invited to the first Quad leaders’ summit held in March 2021, but refused to join. This is a categorical repudiation of the South Korean government’s official statement that the United States neither invited South Korea to join the Quad nor asked it to participate the Quad leaders’ meeting.
A Cheong Wa Dae official simply commented on Mr. Cha’s argument on Thursday that the South Korean government’s position has not changed, rebutting Cha’s argument and repeating its previous announcement that South Korea was never officially invited to join the Quad. A foreign policy expert on relations with the U.S. also reiterated that the United States understood South Korea’s delicate position between the U.S. and China and thus did not invite the South Korea to join the Quad. Choi Young-sam, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, reaffirmed that South Korea did not receive direct invitation to the Quad from any one of four nations.
The Washington-based think tank forecasted on the day that the United States may ask South Korea to join the Quad. In its outline of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the CSIS viewed that the U.S. government may include South Korea in the IPEF, which is an economic and strategic platform created to keep a China-led RCEP in check. The report predicted that the initial members of the IPEF will include the Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.
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