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Korea-U.S. Summit : Results and Challenges
2021-06-01 View : 210 LEE Daewoo

Korea-U.S. Summit : Results and Challenges

Lee Daewoo

(delee@sejong.org) 

Director of the Department of Diplomatic Strategy Studies,
the Sejong Institute

English Abstract

 

On May 21st, 2021, the first summit between President Biden and President Moon Jae In was held at the White House. Analytically, South Korea and the U.S. have reached a reasonable agreement through the summit. President Moon Jae In could gain U.S. support for the Korean Peninsula Peace Process, and President Biden could secure a stable supply of semiconductors and electric vehicle batteries needed for the 4th industrial revolution. However, the joint statement contains many terms and phrases that may hinder the actual  

 

In terms of security, the end of the Revised Missile Guidelines allows South Korea to develop and possess intermediate-range ballistic missiles that can strike China and all of Japan.

 

The Panmunjom Declaration of April 27th, 2018, and the Joint Statement of June 12th, 2018, served as starting points for South Korea and the U.S. policy toward North Korea. The Moon Jae In administration will actively improve inter-Korean relations. In addition, the appointment of Sung Kim as U.S. Special envoy for North Korea indicates that there is a readied team to negotiate the North Korean nuclear issue. The U.S.-North Korea negotiation will begin as soon as North Korea responds.

 

In terms of the economy, the scope of the U.S.-South Korea alliance expanded. South Korea and the U.S. promised to cooperate in areas of climate change, world health, emerging technology (5G, 6G, and semiconductors), supply chain resilience, migration, development, and exchange of human resources. In particular, the U.S. and South Korea agreed to establish a comprehensive KORUS Global Partnership and a KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership Expert Group to unite the U.S. vaccine development capabilities and South Korea's vaccine production capabilities. President Biden promised to provide COVID-19 vaccines for 550,000 South Korean soldiers and avoid a loophole in South Koreas defense.

 

 

In the joint statement, South Korea and the U.S. emphasized the importance of diplomatic talks to solve North Korean issues, the full implementation of the U.N. Security Council resolution, cooperative improvement of human rights in North Korea, and the U.S.-South Korea-Japan relations. There was also a mention of resuming joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea; this, however, prevents North Korea from gladly responding to inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korean negotiations. If South Korea does not actively participate in the Indo-Pacific Strategy, which the U.S. is pursuing to keep China in check, then the U.S.-South Korea alliance will fail to function as a Comprehensive Strategic Alliance. Then, the U.S. Forces in South Korea will harden its strategic flexibility. Then, the deterrence against North Korea will be weakened. Also, Korea-China relations should be particularly monitored as there were terms and phrases used by the U.S. to criticize China in the joint statement although there was no actual mention of the word China.

 Translators note: This is a third partys unofficial translation of the original paper that was written in Korean. All references should be made to the original paper.

 This article is written based on the authors personal opinions and does not reflect the views of the Sejong Institute.