President Moon Jae-in (Cheong Wa Dae)
Cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines will be a key agenda item during the upcoming summit between the leaders of South Korea and the United States, a senior Seoul official said Wednesday.
"One of the main agenda items is vaccine partnership between the two countries," Lee Ho-seung, President Moon Jae-in 's chief of staff for policy, said during a radio interview.
Moon and US President Joe Biden are scheduled to hold an in-person summit at the White House on May 21, focused on North Korea's denuclearization, economic cooperation and bilateral alliance issues.
Lee noted the US possesses original technologies and materials for vaccines, while South Korea has the world's No. 2 biological manufacturing capability.
South Korean can become a global hub for vaccine production through the partnership with the US and such a vision could be discussed during the summit, he added.
As the leaders are expected to have in-depth discussions on economic ties and trade, major business leaders may accompany Moon on the trip, sources said.
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kim Ki-nam and LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Jong-hyun are among the potential list of Moon's business entourage. Chey heads the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a powerful business lobby group.
Amid global chip shortages, the semiconductor industry is also likely to be a key theme during the summit, the sources said.
Moon has repeatedly pledged strong and various support for the semiconductor sector, calling it a core national strategic industry to decide the fate of the nation's economy. (Yonhap)