US “South Korea will join NATO meeting in June”… Invitation preview to China check-in meeting

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US Secretary of State Tony Blincoln. Washington = AP/Newsis

The Joe Biden administration announced that it would invite South Korea to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit to be held in June. If President-elect Yoon Seok-yeol attends the NATO summit, he will face President Biden again after about a month following the first Korea-US summit next month. In particular, at the summit, NATO foreshadowed the adoption of a new strategic concept not only to completely isolate Russia, but also to check China’s expansion of military influence. There are also speculations that South Korea could become a watershed for the US and other Western countries to participate in China’s pressure front in earnest.

●“Korea and Korea together in NATO meeting for the first time to discuss China’s containment”

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blincoln announced at a hearing in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the 26th (local time) that “Asia-pacific countries (AP4) will also join the NATO summit that President Biden will attend.” NATO calls the four key Asia-Pacific partners of NATO, Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, as AP4. This is the first official plan to invite South Korea and Japan to the NATO summit to be held in Madrid, Spain on June 29 and 30.

“We have been promoting NATO cooperation with non-NATO partners such as AP4,” Blincoln said. “President Biden will have a chance to visit (Japan) in the coming weeks,” he added. It was confirmed that strengthening cooperation with key countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as NATO and Korea, is one of the main agendas by making the Asian tour, such as President Biden’s visit to Korea on the 20th or 21st of next month, a fact.

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At the summit meeting in June, NATO plans to adopt the revised strategic concept ‘NATO 2030’ for the first time since 2010. The new strategic concept is expected to include a mid- to long-term strategy for Russia’s complete isolation and a strategy to respond to China’s ‘structural challenge’.

In particular, it is the first time in 73 years since NATO was established that NATO has included a Chinese response strategy in its strategic concept, which is its top-level long-term security policy. The plan is to establish a cooperative system between NATO, a multilateral security system established to contain Russia after World War II, and key US allies in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Korea, to contain China’s expansion of military influence.

China is expected to strongly oppose the U.S. containment strategy that links NATO and its Asia-Pacific allies. China, which has criticized “NATO as a product of the Cold War,” threatened to “will not sit still if a threat comes from us” right after the NATO summit that discussed the concept of a new strategy in June last year.

The Biden administration said it would come up with a separate national security strategy aimed at China before the NATO summit. “In the coming weeks, there will be an opportunity to reveal the details of our strategy for China,” Blincoln said. Daniel Crettenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the US State Department, said on a visit to the Solomon Islands, an island country in the South Pacific that had recently signed a security agreement with China, saying, “If China tries to station troops or establish military facilities in the Solomon Islands, we will respond.”

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Korea, Ukraine attend NATO meeting for arms aid

NATO has also stepped up cooperation with South Korea and other Asian countries in providing weapons to Ukraine to counter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Reuters reported that representatives of South Korea, Japan and Australia participated by video at a meeting of defense ministers of NATO member states held at the US Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany on the 26th. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “There will be monthly meetings for the defense of Ukraine. These meetings will focus on support for the victory of the Ukraine war.” Washington = Correspondent Moon Byung-ki weappon@donga.com

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