Seoul, 23 May 2022 (TDI): From May 20 to May 22, US President Joe Biden visited South Korea and met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol for a summit meeting on May 21.
The summit meeting took place 11 days after Yoon’s inauguration on May 10, making it the first meeting with the US President for any new South Korean President.
Yoon Suk-yeol is a former Public Prosecutor and Prosecutor General serving currently as the 13th president of South Korea. In Seoul, he opened the international summit on the 20-22 of May 2022 with Joe Biden, president of the United States of America.
The summit was held in the South Korean Presidential office in the Seoul central district of Yongsan. President Yoon relocated the presidential office from the blue house when he was inaugurated.
In a joint statement, the two leaders signaled their support for Biden’s framework for economic cooperation in Asia and pledged cooperation on any required agenda, whether nuclear power or cyber security.
Yoon focuses on economic cooperation and commitment to joining the US-led Indo pacific economic framework for prosperity (IPEF).
IPEF is a program launched by Biden in Japan to bind regional countries in supply-chain resilience, clean energy infrastructure, and digital trade.
Yoon stressed that IPEF will not exclude China since it was in the vital interest of South Korea. China is one of its largest trading partners and South Korea intends to develop a qualitative and quantitative partnership with China for their economic collaboration.
This was Biden’s first trip to Asia and the first visit to South Korea since he became President in January 2021.
The visit to South Korea before the visit to Japan for the Quad Summit shows the importance and a significant role South Korea can play in the strategic Indo-Pacific partnership with the United States.
This first meeting is for alliance managers and analysts to carve a friendly relationship between the two partners.
This summit is considered a positive gesture of conciliation between the two partners to set a positive tone after years of disagreements between the previous governments over their approach toward North Korea and China strained the US-ROK relationship.
According to the joint statement, the two Presidents shared the views of a matured alliance and comprehensive strategic relationship.
Both Presidents pledged to deepen and broaden their cooperation on the latest advanced technologies, including semiconductors, eco-friendly electric vehicle batteries, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and cyber security.
The two agreed to foster joint research in space exploration and the concerted efforts to look and strengthen multilateral efforts to curb infectious disease threats.
The US-South Korea bilateral relations
The United States of America and the Republic of Korea established their diplomatic relations in 1882 with the Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce, and Navigation.
The Republic of Korea received its first United States envoy in 1883. The United States and Korea continued with their diplomatic ties till 1905, which were suspended with Japan’s colonization of Korea in 1910, which lasted for 35 years.
In 1945 at the end of World War 2, two Korean peninsulae were divided into two occupation zones, with the United States looking after the South and the Soviet Union on the Northside at the 38th parallel.
38th parallel North is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth’s equatorial plane it crosses Europe, the Mediterranean sea, Asia, the Pacific ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1950 when North Korean forces attacked the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea, the first significant armed conflict of the cold war took place. As a response, 16 countries of the United Nations, including the United States, came to defend South Korea.
On January 1, 1949, the United States recognized the Republic of Korea and established diplomatic relations on the 25th of March the same year.
The United States and South Korea are allies under the 1953 Mutual Defence treaty. In the agreement, United States military personnel have maintained a continuous presence on the Korean peninsula.
South Korea is considered one of the most pro-American countries in the world. Since South Korea is one of the highest destinations for US military hardware.
There is a clear indication that besides its military relationship reliance, cultural exchange is flourishing along with media partnership with a strong bonding in goods and services trade.
Fighting the challenges together
The relationship between the United States and South Korea is reciprocal in maintaining the strategic challenges.
To build a healthy diplomatic balance, South Korea has to bridge an engineered relationship with neighboring countries like China, one of Korea’s largest trade partners.
At the same time, the United States alliance is extremely important, on the other hand, for the strategic security of south Korea.
The United States and South Korea have always given assurance of their close diplomatic ties and work to help each other maintain a partnership for bringing peace and stability in the region and to the global order.
The United States and South Korea emphasized the growing regional and global issues to reshape and recommit their goals and line of action with the new complex and existential issues like Pandemic COVID-19.