Start United States USA — Korea Seventy years later, the US-South Korea alliance is more crucial than ever

Seventy years later, the US-South Korea alliance is more crucial than ever


South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol will make a state visit to Washington, D.C. today – the first by a South Korean president in 12 years. The visit comes at a critical time for both countries, amid growing concerns over China and North Korea. Biden needs South Korean support for U.S. geopolitical efforts, whereas Yoon hopes to resolve contentious domestic issues with support from Biden. 
The state visit presents the two leaders with an opportunity to align their positions, solidifying the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance as it celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. 
First, the U.S. needs South Korean support in the face of increasing competition with China. The success of U.S. efforts to restructure supply chains, particularly in strategic industries such as semiconductors and batteries, depends on active support from allies such as South Korea. Despite concerns about potential Chinese economic retaliation, South Korean conglomerates — including Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor Group and SK Group — have responded with huge investments in the U.S., with SK Group alone announcing it would invest $22 billion. Biden needs to secure South Korea’s continued support in this new economic security arena. 
U.S. efforts to establish new multilateral organizations in the Indo-Pacific region represent another area where South Korea’s role is increasingly important. While South Korea’s previous Moon Jae-In government was hesitant to participate in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), the Yoon government is eager to support this and other U.S. attempts to contain China, such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity and the semiconductor supply chain initiative, Chip 4. Biden can confirm South Korean cooperation with such U.S.

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