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S. Korea, U.S. can cooperate on building 'trusted' supply chains to reduce Chinese dependence: report

Diplomacy 15:28 May 18, 2021

By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, May 18 (Yonhap) -- Developing trusted supply chains is one area that South Korea and the United States can work together to reduce economic dependence on China, a joint report by Korean and American experts showed Tuesday.

A total of 27 experts, including former high-level government officials in Seoul and Washington, made the case in the report, noting how the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the vulnerability of the global supply chains heavily dependent on Beijing amid the virus-driven border controls across the world.

"Developing trusted supply chains is one area where further collaboration between the U.S. and Korea can reduce overall reliance on China by diversifying production lines," the report by the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies and the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) said.

"The area of economics provides many opportunities for the U.S. and ROK to cooperatively address regional and global economic challenges," the report said. ROK stands for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

The report also stressed that the alliance should not just be confined to the Korean Peninsula and North Korea issues but should "expand the scope of the frontiers" to new areas, such as cyberspace, the fourth industrial revolution, public health, energy and climate change.

"Electric vehicles, as well as hydrogen fuel cells and batteries ... ought to constitute a much more solid pillar of the alliance," the report said.

On the regional alliance in Northeast Asia, South Korean experts pointed out that the U.S. needs to understand Seoul's unique geopolitical position in the region and suggested coming up with "a more customized alliance strategy."

"It is important to develop flexibility in South Korean participation in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific vision so as to avoid the perception that South Korea is unconditionally aligned with the U.S. in containing China," it said.

U.S. experts called for the South to not view U.S. diplomacy on building coalitions for supply chains and clean networks as "anti-China devices", but Korea's "contributions to a ruled-based order" in line with its national interests.

S. Korea, U.S. can cooperate on building 'trusted' supply chains to reduce Chinese dependence: report - 1


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