Biden and Yoon Suk-yeol stated their international locations’ decades-old alliance wanted to develop not solely to face North Korean threats however to maintain the Indo-Pacific area “free and open” and shield international provide chains.
The two leaders are assembly in Seoul for his or her first diplomatic engagement because the South Korean president’s inauguration 11 days in the past. The pleasant encounter between allies is clouded by intelligence displaying North Korean chief Kim Jong Un is ready to conduct nuclear or missile exams.
Yoon had sought extra assurances that the United States would enhance its deterrence towards North Korean threats. In a joint assertion, Biden reaffirmed the U.S. dedication to defend South Korea with nuclear weapons if essential.
The two sides agreed to think about increasing their mixed army drills, which had been scaled again in recent times in an effort to decrease tensions with the North, the assertion stated.
The United States additionally promised to deploy “strategic assets” – which usually embrace long-range bomber plane, missile submarines, or plane carriers – if essential to discourage North Korea.
Biden instructed a joint information convention after their assembly that he could be keen to satisfy with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un if he appeared focused on critical talks. He stated Washington had supplied COVID-19 vaccines to North Korea and China.
Yoon has additionally supplied support for North Korea to fight its first acknowledged COVID-19 outbreak, however thus far Pyongyang has not responded.
North Korea reported greater than 200,000 new sufferers affected by fever for a fifth consecutive day on Saturday, however the nation has little in the best way of vaccines or fashionable remedy for the pandemic.
The U.S.-South Korea alliance, which dates to the 1950-1953 Korean War, should additional develop to maintain the Indo-Pacific “free and open”, Biden stated.
He stated the alliance was constructed on opposition to altering borders by pressure – an obvious reference to Russia’s warfare in Ukraine and China’s claims over Taiwan.
Changes in worldwide commerce and provide chains gave new impetus for the 2 international locations to deepen their relationship, Yoon stated, calling for cooperation on electrical batteries and semiconductors.
Biden used the go to to tout investments within the United States by Korean firms, together with a transfer by South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group to speculate about $5.5 billion to construct its first devoted absolutely electrical car and battery manufacturing services within the United States.
The two leaders toured an enormous Samsung semiconductor plant on Friday, the place Biden stated international locations just like the United States and South Korea that “share values” wanted to cooperate extra to guard financial and nationwide safety.
Yoon stated the idea of financial safety will embrace cooperating in case of shocks within the overseas change market.
The South Korean president, eager to play an even bigger position in regional points, is predicted to make his nation one of many inaugural members of Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which will probably be introduced in the course of the journey to set requirements on labour, the surroundings and provide chains.
But, on condition that China is South Korea’s prime buying and selling associate, he’s prone to strike a cautious tone in public on the subject of explicitly countering Beijing. He stated on Friday that South Korea’s becoming a member of the IPEF didn’t need to battle with the international locations’ financial ties.
Although White House officers have sought to minimize any express message of countering China, it’s a theme of Biden’s journey and one which has caught the attention of Beijing.
“Jake Sullivan said that Biden’s trip to Asia is not aimed at confronting China,” Chinese envoy for Korean affairs Liu Xiaoming, stated on Twitter, referring to Biden’s nationwide safety adviser.
“We hope that the U.S. will match its words with deeds and work with countries in the region to promote solidarity and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, instead of plotting division and confrontation.”
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Hyonhee Shin, Jack Kim, Eric Beech, and Josh Smith; Editing by William Mallard and Bradley Perrett)
By Trevor Hunnicutt and Josh Smith