[연합시론] Korea-U.S. summit should build a strategic alliance based on national interests

[그래픽] The period from the inauguration of previous presidents to the first Korea-US summit

(Seoul = Yonhap News) Reporter Toil Kim = US President Joe Biden will tour Korea and Japan from the 20th to the 24th of next month, the White House announced on the 27th (local time).
This is President Biden’s first trip to Korea and Japan since taking office in January last year.
kmtoil@yna.co.kr
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(Seoul = Yonhap News) The Korea-US summit is scheduled to be held on the 21st of next month. The White House announced in a press release on the 27th (local time) that US President Joe Biden will tour Korea and Japan from May 20-24. The schedule itself for the Korea-US summit is swift and unusual. President-elect Yoon Seok-yeol will hold his first Korea-US summit in 11 days after taking office on the 10th of next month. Compared to previous new governments, the Korea-US summit took place in the shortest period of time. President Biden will visit South Korea on the 20th and 22nd. Considering the fact that there have been many cases of US presidents visiting Japan first during their East Asian tours, it seems to be a very different aspect. It is the first time in 29 years since July 1993 that an American president visits Korea before a South Korean president’s visit to the US. At the time, US President Bill Clinton visited South Korea to meet former President Kim Young-sam. This is Biden’s first visit to South Korea and Japan since taking office early last year. With the Ukraine crisis as an opportunity, the global situation is facing a vortex of change. At a time when concerns about the omni-directional crisis are rising, attention is focused on the Korea-US summit.

The topic of discussion at the Korea-US summit is security relations in East Asia, including the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has recently raised the level of threat by stating the possibility of ‘preemptive use of nuclear weapons’. The content of the recent remarks made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is not serious. At the parade ceremony to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the anti-Japanese guerrillas on the 25th, Chairman Kim mentioned that nuclear weapons are not only used to prevent war, but can also be used when an attempt is made to usurp the fundamental interests of the country. Concerns remain regarding signs of North Korea’s preparations for a seventh nuclear test. The move to restore the Punggye-ri nuclear test site has been disclosed several times. In other words, the issue of cooperation and response between South Korea and the United States in preparation for a possible North Korean provocation has emerged as an urgent matter. In this regard, there is an observation that there is a possibility that measures to strengthen deterrence against North Korea, such as strengthening the US nuclear umbrella and expanding the ROK-US joint exercise, are likely to be discussed. From the perspective of the ROK and the United States, the prospect of building a consensus on the need to resolutely respond to North Korean provocations and nuclear threats seems to be prevailing. However, it should not be neglected to apply diplomatic solutions more broadly and flexibly. Continuing to show willingness and effort to solve the problem through dialogue and compromise can also be an effective means.

It is noteworthy that the outline of the policy of strengthening the Korea-US ‘comprehensive strategic alliance’ promoted by President-elect Yoon will be visualized. President Biden will travel to Japan after visiting South Korea. In addition to the US-Japan summit, it is known that he is scheduled to hold a quad summit, a consultative body to contain the US, Japan, Australia and India against China. Diplomats believe that President Biden’s visit heavily includes the purpose of strengthening checks on China. Checking China is a high priority in US foreign policy. In a press release on the trip, the White House set out as one of its goals to develop a strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The free and open Indo-Pacific is said to be the expression the US uses when targeting China. It is predicted that this meeting could serve as a test bed for Yoon-elect to respond to the US policy of checking China. President-elect Yoon has been insisting on strengthening the ROK-U.S. alliance, saying it is the reconstruction of the alliance. In addition to this, he also established diplomacy based on mutual respect in Korea-China relations. Although it appears to be a principled stance, it can be interpreted that more emphasis is placed on the ROK-US alliance. It is known that ‘fairness, common sense, and practicality’ are discussed as the principles of the next government’s state affairs in the Presidential Transition Committee. In international diplomatic relations, pragmatism can be seen as directly related to the national interest.

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2022/04/28 15:20 Send

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