尹 and Biden expected to have a summit around the 24th of next month… We will discuss the alliance

The Quad Summit will be held in Japan on May 24… Biden likely to visit Korea on the 23rd or 25th
In the case of success, high-speed talks within two weeks of inauguration… The fastest opening among Korean presidents in history
Korea-U.S. Relations Comprehensive Strategic Alliance Upgrade… North Korea’s nuclear test response expected to be coordinated

President-elect Yoon Seok-yeol is expected to hold a summit meeting with US President Joe Biden on or around the 24th of next month. This means that President-elect Yoon, who will take office on the 10th of next month, will meet with the US leader in approximately two weeks, and the earliest Korea-US summit will be held since the inauguration of a South Korean president.

The two countries are expected to intensively coordinate the agenda related to ‘reconstruction of the alliance’, which President-elect Yoon has been emphasizing in the past, such as upgrading the ROK-US relationship to a comprehensive strategic alliance.

○ Prospects for the fastest Korea-US summit in history

President Biden said during a video summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 11th (local time), “I look forward to meeting in Japan on the 24th of next month.” The “Quad” summit, a security cooperation chain of four countries including the United States, Japan, Australia, and India, will be held in Japan on the 24th. In a press release on the results of the video summit on the same day, the White House said, “The two leaders looked forward to meeting at the Quad Summit to be held in Tokyo, Japan, in the late spring,” and made the Quad Summit at the end of May a fact.

If President Biden visits Japan next month, it seems likely that his visit to Korea will occur naturally before and after this. A high-ranking government official said in a phone call with the Dong-A Ilbo on the 12th, “The question was when the quad summit was scheduled, but President Biden’s visit to Korea during his visit to Japan is a scheduled procedure.” The delegation of South Korea-U.S. policy consultation delegation from President-elect Yoon, who returned to Korea after 7 nights and 8 days of visit to the US, also met with reporters and emphasized that “the two sides (Korea and the US) agreed on the need for an early summit.”

If the quad summit is held on the 24th of next month, the date of the Korea-US summit is likely on the 23rd or 25th. In a symbolic sense, President-elect Yoon is expecting President Biden to visit Korea prior to the Quad Summit. However, a government official said, “At this point, there is a 50/50 chance of coming ahead or coming later.”

If President Biden arrives on the 23rd or 25th, the fastest ‘U.S.-Korea summit’ among Korean presidents will be held. Earlier, President Moon Jae-in held a summit meeting with former President Donald Trump 51 days after taking office. It is the first time in 29 years since the meeting between Kim Young-sam and former President Bill Clinton in July 1993 that the first South Korea-US summit since the inauguration of the new president of Korea was held in Seoul, not in the United States.

○ It is likely that the discussion will focus on ways to upgrade the alliance, etc.

If the Korea-U.S. summit is held, it is expected that the two leaders will focus on issues that build trust and confirm the importance of the ROK-U.S. alliance as soon as Yoon-elect Yoon takes office. An official from Yoon’s side predicted, “First, the atmosphere will be warm as the ideas of President-elect Yoon and President Biden are not different in the broad framework of the Korea-U.S. alliance.” Choi Kang, president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, also said, “We will try to make it a mutual meeting that confirms that the leaders of the two countries are partners that can be trusted and cooperated with each other.”

The basic direction for upgrading the ROK-US relationship to a comprehensive strategic alliance is also expected to be decided at this summit. There is also the possibility of discussing the restart of the Korea-US Extended Deterrence Strategy Council (EDSCG), which discusses the deployment of US strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula. As the possibility of North Korea’s nuclear test is being talked about before and after the launch of the Yun Seok-Yeol government, it is expected that the direction of response to North Korea will be intensively coordinated.

The Moon Jae-in administration has been conscious of China and has shown an ambiguous attitude toward participating in US-led economic and security cooperatives such as Quad and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). Diplomats are paying attention to whether President-elect Yoon will publicly make positive comments about these cooperatives.

It is also of interest to see how President-elect Yoon will react as President Biden is likely to ask for active participation in China’s containment in a wide range of fields, including the supply chain. An official from Yun’s side said, “The date of the meeting has not been decided yet, so nothing has been decided.”

Reporter Shin Jin-woo niceshin@donga.com
Washington = Byung-ki Moon, Correspondent weappon@donga.com
By Choi Ji-seon, staff reporter aurinko@donga.com

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