Defense, economy and China at the heart of Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea

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US President Joe Biden will meet with his counterpart Yoon Seok-yeol, the new South Korean president in Seoul on Friday, May 20. The two men, both proponents of strengthening the alliance between their countries, must have a busy agenda: economic security, especially in the key semiconductor sector, competition with China, but above all the security of the Korean peninsula. With sixteen missile tests since the beginning of the year and the possibility of a seventh nuclear test, North Korea’s neighbor, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, should be at the center of the discussions.

With our reporter in Seoul,

The issue of the security of the Korean Peninsula may be the common thread in Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea on Friday, May 20. In the thorny issue of North Korea, this must be expected at least to a joint declaration emphasizing the need for ” Strengthening the alliance “and do everything for” Denuclearization of the peninsula Both sides often use formulas to address the North Korea issue.

On the South Korean side, the goal will be to obtain assurances that the United States will strengthen its broad deterrence against the North. We should be far from extravagance at that time Trump with the summit Surprise with Kim Jong-un In the demilitarized zone, however, Joe Biden was planning to visit the demilitarized zone on the border with the North. The program relies heavily on Pyongyang’s actions, while Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, confirmed that it was possible North Korea had tested an ICBM, either before or during the US visit. President of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test

A South Korean lawmaker said Thursday, on the eve of the US president’s visit to Seoul, that Pyongyang has also completed preparations for a nuclear test and is waiting for the best time to conduct it. Despite the recent wave of the Covid-19 virus in North Korea, the “ Preparations for a nuclear test have been completed and they are just looking for the right moment.” To implement it, MK Ha Tae-kyung told reporters, citing information from the National Intelligence Service in Seoul.

Such an action would greatly underscore the stalemate on the North Korea issue since the breakdown of talks between Trump and Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in 2019. The Biden administration has repeatedly offered to hold meetings without conditions, but Pyongyang appears to want a concrete offer, because The North Koreans continue their provocations without responding to the American offers.

Biden does not forget the economy and China

It is in this context that Yoon Seok Yeol, Who has just taken office as president, has been trying for several days to engage in dialogue about possible humanitarian aid while the North faces a major pandemic wave. without further success. Biden’s arrival could be an opportunity to renew a broad delivery offer of vaccines, masks or medical equipment. But this intercontinental ballistic missile test will surely mean the end of the faint hope of dialogue remaining between the Biden administration and Kim Jong Un and will overshadow other topics of the summit.


Because from the American side, this trip to Asia is above all an opportunity to talk about the economy. The US project can be summed up in four letters, IPEF, short for Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. This US initiative aims to create a place for discussion, and a forum between the various forces in the region to solve current supply chain problems, particularly in the key semiconductor sector. There are many players in the market such as SH Hynix or Samsung Electronics in South Korea, moreover, Joe Biden should visit Samsung factory during his visit.

The US initiative also aims to reduce China’s influence. Despite heavy criticism from Beijing, the Yun administration is expected to formalize South Korea’s participation in the first IPEF summit to be held in Japan where Joe Biden will travel after his stay in Korea.

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