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Moon, Biden set for talks on vaccine, N. Korea, economic ties

All News 08:00 May 21, 2021

WASHINGTON/SEOUL, May 20 (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold one-on-one talks with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday (local time), as the allies have a range of pending issues to coordinate, especially on North Korea, COVID-19 vaccines and global supply chain resilience.

It will mark their first face-to-face summit, though they already had a phone conversation and a virtual meeting. The summit's outcome is expected to heavily affect the overall Seoul-Washington relationship at least over the coming year, with Moon's tenure slated to finish in May 2022.

The two leaders are scheduled to announce the results of their discussions via a joint press conference. They may issue a joint statement in writing as well.

A file photo of South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and a file photo provided by the Associated Press of U.S. President Joe Biden (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (YONHAP)

Moon is seeking a speedier shipment of U.S.-made vaccines in a bid to attain the stated aim of getting as many as 13 million people in his country inoculated by the end of June. South Korea is hoping for vaccine-related technology transfer with the goal of becoming a "global vaccine production hub."

He is also striving for a breakthrough in efforts to revitalize the Korea peace process. He is likely to emphasize the need for the U.S. to restart dialogue with North Korea.

Biden is expected to share more details of Washington's new strategy on Pyongyang. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will apparently keep watch on a relevant agreement between Moon and Biden.

Economic cooperation is another key summit agenda item, with the Biden government campaigning for the reorganization of global supply chains in such high-tech industries as semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries and biohealth.

A potential burden for Moon in terms of give-and-take diplomacy is the Biden administration's drive to ratchet up pressure on China and bolster trilateral security partnership involving Japan.

Observers are paying attention to whether the issue of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, will be raised during the summit. The forum of the U.S., Japan, India and Australia is widely viewed as directed at China, the largest trading partner of South Korea. The U.S. reportedly wants South Korea to play a role in the group.

Moon will likely assure Biden in person that his government is willing to develop forward-looking ties with Tokyo despite their row over shared history.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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