[ED] Broadening alliance – The Korea Times
[ED] Extension of the alliance
President Yoon Suk-yeol and his US counterpart Joe Biden have pledged to expand the two countries’ military alliance into a “global strategic alliance” to deepen their cooperation in economics and technology. This new meaning of alliance will open a new horizon in the bilateral security alliance to ensure peace, stability and prosperity not only in the Korean Peninsula and East Asia, but also around the world.
In this sense, the first summit of the two leaders, held on Saturday in Seoul, is considered to have given good results. They deserve credit for going beyond the security alliance to cover everything from strategic assets such as semiconductors and batteries to a single front to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as climate change and climate change. COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden began his three-day visit to South Korea by visiting Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor factory in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul. It is unusual for a U.S. president to go to such a factory first before visiting major U.S. military bases here. He also ended his stay by meeting with Hyundai Motor Group President Chung Euisun.
These meetings show how important it is for him to attract investment from Korean companies and intensify technology cooperation with Asia’s fourth largest economy. He thanked Samsung for investing $ 17 billion in building a chip-making plant in Texas. He also received a promise from Hyundai to invest $ 5 billion in the US for the development of robotic and autonomous driving software, as well as a $ 5.35 billion investment to build a factory for electric vehicles and car batteries in Georgia.
The Yoon-Biden summit reflected the growing need for the two allies to upgrade their traditional security alliance into a global partnership aimed at forging an economic and technological alliance. It also meant that Seoul has decided to join Washington’s drive to establish its own global supply chains as part of efforts to contain a more assertive China. That is why the Yoon administration must develop measures to deal with a possible reaction from China.
Also worth noting is Yoon’s formal announcement of Seoul’s participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), an initiative proposed by Biden to improve supply chain resilience, set the rules for the digital economy and increase investments in clean energy and infrastructure. Biden is expected to launch IPEF during the summit meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) to be held earlier this week in Japan.
Surely South Korea will greatly benefit from its IPEF membership. However, the problem is how to avoid any possible retaliation from China, which is strongly opposed to the creation of the US-led IPEF. Beijing has already expressed concern over Biden’s new economic initiative, arguing that it aims to exclude China from global supply chains amid escalating major power rivalry between the two countries.
Korea’s involvement in IPEF also means that the country’s policy of relying on the United States for security and relying on China for economic growth can no longer be sustained. Yoon and Biden stressed in their joint statement that IPEF is being pushed based on openness, transparency and inclusion. However, the Chinese government sees IPEF as a US bid to counter the China-led Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement between Asian and Pacific nations, such as Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Singapore.
The Yoon government, for its part, must try to alleviate China’s concerns, because the world’s second largest economy is our largest trading partner, accounting for a quarter of Korea’s exports. This is easier said than done. It is becoming increasingly difficult to strike a balance between the US and China. However, every effort must be made to avoid any consequences of growing Sino-US strategic competition and to maximize our national interests.
Yoon and Biden agreed to start talks on expanding joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington, reaffirming the expanded deterrence against North Korea’s growing military threats, including its possible nuclear attacks. It is important that the Allies improve their joint preparedness, while opening the door to dialogue with Pyongyang. The two sides should make concerted efforts to achieve their goal of achieving a comprehensive global strategic alliance.