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Yoon, Biden agree to newly launch ‘economic security dialogue’ to boost cooperation

President Yoon Suk-yeol (left) greets US President Joe Biden at the presidential office in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Saturday. (Yonhap)
President Yoon Suk-yeol (left) greets US President Joe Biden at the presidential office in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Saturday. (Yonhap)

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and his US counterpart Joe Biden agreed Saturday to launch a new communication channel between their offices for “frequent” communication of the two countries to strengthen bilateral cooperation on economic security.

Recognizing how the future of the alliance between the two countries will be defined by their common efforts to address the challenges ahead, they also pledged to deepen and broaden cooperation on critical and emerging technologies and cybersecurity, in their joint declaration released after the first summit.

“(US) President Biden and I have agreed to reinforce practical cooperation on new industry sectors, such as semiconductors, batteries, nuclear energy, space development and cyber security,” Yoon said in a press conference after holding summit talks with Biden.

“As the first step, we agreed to newly launch an economic security dialogue between our presidential offices to frequently discuss on economic security, including topics of supply chain and advanced technology.”

According to their joint declaration, the two presidents will direct their respective National Security Councils to establish the economic security dialogue, which is aimed “to align the bureaucratic and policy approaches between the two governments.”

The two presidents also reaffirmed “active support” for people-to-people exchanges between experts in these fields, and to enhance their partnership through promotion of investment and research and development cooperation, according to the joint statement.

In the press conference, Biden mentioned his visit to Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor production base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province as he expressed his appreciation for Korea’s investment in the US.

“Yesterday, President Yoon and I visited a factory where Korean and American innovation are working in tandem to produce the most advanced semiconductors in the world,” Biden said during the press conference.

“And I welcome the billions of dollars of investment that Korean companies like Samsung are making in the United States,” Biden said. He added that investments help strengthen both Korea and the US’ supply chains, secure them from shocks and give both countries’ economies a competitive edge.

The two presidents also agreed to establish a regular minister-level Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue to discuss promotion of resilient supply chains of key products, including semiconductors, batteries and critical minerals, the joint statement said.

“Both leaders agree to strengthen the resiliency and diversity of these networks, including by cooperating on early warning systems to detect and address potential supply chain disruptions and working together to address sourcing and processing of critical minerals,” the statement read.

The two leaders will also enhance cooperation between their foreign investment screening and export control authorities related to critical technologies. This is aimed to prevent the use of advanced technologies to undermine the national and economic security of the two countries.

The two sides will also start discussions on the Reciprocal Defense Procurement agreement to strengthen their partnership in the defense sector supply chain, amid growing potential of their cooperation in the defense industry.

The leaders of the two countries held their first summit on Saturday, which came in three parts. The first part was a talk with a small number of aides, followed by a private conversation between the two leaders, and then an expanded summit involving officials of their respective presidential offices and ministries.

The summit was initially planned for 90 minutes in total. It was eventually extended, as the first part of the talk lasted for about 72 minutes -- 42 minutes over the time allotted. The following private talk, in which only interpreters accompanied the presidents, lasted for 30 minutes.

In the first meeting, the two presidents were accompanied by their national security advisers. From the Korean side, national security adviser Kim Sung-han and Foreign Minister Park Jin attended the meeting. On the American side, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink were present.

Their first diplomatic engagement comes in 11 days since Yoon was inaugurated on May 10.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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