Marcia Bernicat, acting under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, is seen delivering her keynote remarks while virtually taking part in a joint economic forum hosted by the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank in Washington on Wednesday, in this captured image. (Yonhap)
WASHINGTON -- Cooperation between South Korea and the United States is critical to addressing the issue of weak supply chains for key technological products such as semiconductors, senior diplomats of the allied countries said Wednesday.
They also argued increased support for cooperation between their technological industries will help shape the future success of both nations.
"We are working together to build resilient, diverse and secure supply chains for critical technologies," Marcia Bernicat, acting under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, said at an economic forum hosted by the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank.
"From EV batteries to semiconductors, we see opportunities to enhance our competitiveness, improve our already robust relationship, and create the jobs of the future for our citizens," she added.
The US diplomat welcomed recent investment pledges made by South Korean companies, worth $39 billion, on the sidelines of a May 21 summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Joe Biden in Washington.
"Today's event marks an important piece of this cooperation," she said. "To tackle the 21st century challenges that we're here to talk about today, we will need to marshal the greatest strength of our two countries, its people."
Bernicat stressed the importance of cooperation in EV batteries and semiconductors amid growing concern about supply shortages in the United States that had forced the Biden administration to conduct an extensive 100-day review on ways to enhance and strengthen its logistics.
But she also identified other areas such as quantum computing, climate change countermeasures and global vaccine supplies for which she said South Korea-US cooperation will be critical.
"As our presidents agree, we must also commit to the development of open, interoperable architectures, including open radio access networks or open RAN. Together, we must safeguard the values and principles we have fought so hard to preserve and have brought us so far," she said.
Choi Jong-moon, South Korea's second vice foreign minister, underscored the importance of government support for new investments.
"As I mentioned earlier, it was a symbolic move to invite our leading companies to announce their investment plans at the summit," he said in his keynote remarks.
"However, this investment can materialize only when our governments are prepared to help with the proper policy tools," added Choi.
Noting the United States recently unveiled a $52 billion program to support semiconductor manufacturing, the South Korean diplomat said it was still unclear whether electric vehicle battery makers, especially those from South Korea, would also benefit from such support.
"It becomes increasingly convincing that what is good for Korean battery makers will also be good for the United States," he said. "We hope to see these companies secure enough support as well. After all, they will contribute to the resilient and diverse supply chains of the United States in critical and strategic areas."
Still, he noted his country needed to work with the United States as much as the US needs to with South Korea.
"Korea is committed to working with the United States in building back better a resilient global economy. To arrive at this goal, it is important for our two governments to nurture mutual investment, joint research and closer interactions between all entities, including governments, corporations and academia," said Choi. (Yonhap)