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Important ‘test’ for the US-Korea alliance






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Photo: NK News

The focus of the visit is the first face-to-face summit at the White House between the South Korean president and his US counterpart since Joe Biden took office in January this year.

The agenda of the visit covers a series of notable issues, from the promotion of the ROK-US military alliance, the Korea-US-Japan trilateral relationship, to economic cooperation and joint response to the conflict. non-traditional security challenges such as climate change and especially the current Covid-19 pandemic.

However, two key contents are US-ROK cooperation in the process of complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the provision of a vaccine against Covid-19.

Local experts say the administration of President Moon Jae-in is seeking to use the summit as a tool to revive foreign policy toward North Korea and facilitate talks. peace negotiations between the two regions in the near future.

To this end, Seoul will seek to reach agreement with Washington on a joint statement in which the Biden administration can reaffirm its approach to North Korea under the “Singapore Agreement” reached last year. 2018 between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump, or at least an official declaration of an end to the Korean War.

In preparation for the visit, for many months now, South Korean and American officials have conducted many contacts and consultations on this very difficult and complicated issue with the participation of diplomats, military, security security and intelligence.

The US side also closed the process of strategic review on North Korea, seeking diplomatic solutions in the direction of a “step-by-step, realistic and calibrated approach” with the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. . The United States will not pursue a big deal like former President Donald Trump or a policy of “strategic patience” like former President Barack Obama.

It can be understood that the current policy of the Biden administration with Pyongyang is to maintain the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula through diplomacy, and in this process, Washington will gradually conduct negotiations. from expert level to senior level with Pyongyang.

South Korea has welcomed the stance, but still wants the US administration to inherit the agreement that the previous administration of former President Donald Trump reached with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. It is very likely that this proposal will be made by the Korean leader during his talks with President Biden.

This is considered an attempt by South Korea so that the US and North Korea can resume stalled negotiations. If Mr. Biden approves, this will be good news because the agreement reached by the leaders of the US and North Korea in Singapore is considered a comprehensive and positive agreement.

However, in the view of many analysts, the US position on the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula remains very cautious and the Biden administration does not consider the North Korean issue a top priority.

The fact that the position of “special envoy on North Korea” in the new administration in the US remains vacant, enough to show the extent of President Biden’s interest in this issue. Moreover, Washington remains skeptical about Pyongyang’s willingness to give up its nuclear program. Therefore, it will not be easy for President Biden to reach an agreement with Mr. Moon Jae-in on this issue.

Meanwhile, South Korean public opinion is more interested in the issue of Covid-19 vaccine cooperation between Seoul and Washington than breakthroughs in the North Korean issue.

To ensure that there are enough vaccines to successfully achieve herd immunity by November, South Korea wants to reach a vaccine swap agreement with the US. Accordingly, Washington will provide Seoul with a necessary number of vaccines in advance. South Korea will return to the US later with a source of domestically produced vaccines using US technology or Korea’s own technology.

Seoul has noted that, if the US transfers vaccine production technology and materials to South Korea, the country can become a global vaccine production center thanks to the second largest pharmaceutical production capacity. world. That’s why accompanying the Korean President on this visit to the US are officials from leading Korean pharmaceutical companies such as Samsung Biologics and SK Biosience.

Securing a “vaccine partnership” with Washington will be a top priority in the US-Korea summit, when South Korea’s Covid-19 vaccination work has made little progress due to resource constraints. vaccine supply.

The country has started a vaccination program against Covid-19 since February 26. To date, 940,345 people, or 1.8% of South Korea’s population, have received the full dose of the vaccine, while 733,806 people, or 7.3%, have received a single dose of the vaccine.

The results of a public opinion poll released on May 10 showed that nearly 30% of South Koreans consider securing a vaccine a top priority that President Moon Jae-in should pursue for the rest of the country. term. However, there is currently no sign that the US will cooperate. Last month, officials in Washington cited the situation in the US as still difficult and that the country was also short of a vaccine.

In addition, on the agenda are major Korean investment projects to produce semiconductors in the US in the context of a global chip shortage that is affecting many manufacturing industries such as phones, computers, etc. computer or car.

It is likely that the two sides will reach an agreement in this area, because Korea considers this a strategic industry that determines the fate of the national economy, while the US also wants to build a supply chain for this key product. avoid dependence on China, a direct competitor to Washington in many areas.

According to many sources, the four largest corporations in Korea – Samsung, Hyundai, SK and LG are expected to invest a total of 40 trillion won (about 35 billion USD) in the US. This is considered a “gift” that President Moon Jae-in gave to President Biden in exchange for cooperation on vaccines from the US.

One thorny issue that both sides need to discuss to find a solution is the tense relationship between South Korea and Japan, two key US allies in Asia. Both South Korea and Japan have ostensibly vowed to make efforts to resolve the conflict, and both have recently engaged in bilateral or trilateral dialogue activities with the participation of the United States.

However, these two countries seem unlikely to “normalize” relations anytime soon because of the overlapping contradictions from the issue of sovereignty over sea and islands, compensation for wartime victims to trade disputes and more recently. especially when the Japanese government announced the decision to discharge the water from the nuclear power plant into the sea.

It can be said that, in the context of the current complicated world situation, the “baggage” brought by the Korean President to the US is quite “heavy”.

A South Korean official involved in the preparations for the trip said, unlike any first South Korea-US summit, it is usually an occasion to reaffirm the alliance relationship, coordinate North Korea policy and build personal relationship between the leaders, this time, the success of the meeting will be judged by “what Korea can get”, especially in the issue of increasing vaccine supplies .

In other words, the outcome of the US-Korea summit will be a test of the durability of the traditional alliance relationship between the two countries.

According to Newspapers

South korean president goes to us to discuss covid-19 vaccine

South Korean President goes to US to discuss Covid-19 vaccine

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has come to the US to hold talks with his counterpart Joe Biden on Covid-19 vaccine cooperation, North Korea, bilateral economic partnership, etc.

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