September 24, 2023

President Biden on Wednesday will host South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol for an official state go to on the White Home, placing the highlight on the connection between the U.S. and a key ally in Asia.

Biden and the primary girl will welcome Yoon and his spouse in a proper ceremony, adopted by a bilateral assembly, a press convention and a proper state dinner with lawmakers, administration officers and particular company.

The go to will commemorate 70 years of the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea, officers mentioned.

Listed here are the important thing objects anticipated to be on the agenda.

Leaked paperwork

A trove of leaked authorities paperwork included a number of mentions of South Korea, irritating some lawmakers in Seoul and forcing the Biden administration to do clear up.

The paperwork detailed U.S. requests for South Korea to supply ammunition to Ukraine in its battle in opposition to Russia. Assist for Ukraine is a thorny problem for South Korea, as it’s hoping to garner assist from Russia to reign in missile assessments by North Korea.

Yoon and his high officers have downplayed the severity of the leak, arguing it will don’t have any unfavorable affect on the U.S.-South Korea relationship. Some South Korean lawmakers, nonetheless, have argued the leak was a breach of belief that known as for an apology from the U.S., based on The New York Instances.

“I consider that this matter isn’t any purpose to shake the ironclad belief that helps the U.S.-South Korea alliance, as a result of it’s primarily based on shared values like freedom,” Yoon informed NBC Information on Monday.

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Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday mentioned U.S. officers are participating with allies and companions, together with in South Korea, to “reassure them of our dedication to safeguarding intelligence and constancy to our safety partnerships.”

“Our dedication to the [Republic of Korea] is ironclad and has been and can proceed to be so,” she mentioned.

North Korea

A central focus of the assembly will possible be how the 2 leaders can cope with North Korea, which has been extra aggressively testing missiles in latest months.

White Home nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan informed reporters Monday that Biden “will reinforce and improve our prolonged deterrence commitments to South Korea with respect to the risk the DPRK poses.”

Administration officers mentioned Biden and his workforce will underscore their dedication to diplomatic efforts on the peninsula, in addition to the significance of human rights.

“We’re prepared to satisfy at any time, at anywhere to handle severe issues, and we’re open to the opportunity of humanitarian help with acceptable safeguards to assist the folks of the DPRK,” Sullivan mentioned.

Tensions on the peninsula have been heightened over the previous 12 months specifically. North Korea has launched roughly 100 missiles for the reason that begin of 2022, placing South Korea and Japan specifically on excessive alert.

North Korea has additionally taken problem with joint army drills between the U.S. and South Korea, viewing it as a risk.

Biden administration officers have harassed that they’re keen to maintain diplomatic channels with North Korea open, although they haven’t had the identical stage of contact because the Trump administration, the place then-President Trump and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo each met with Kim Jong-Un.

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Financial ties

Biden and Yoon are prone to spotlight the rising financial ties between their two nations throughout Wednesday’s conferences and public statements.

The Biden administration introduced earlier this 12 months that Korean solar energy firm Hanwha Q Cells will spend greater than $2.5 billion to increase its Dalton, Ga., facility, the most important one-time funding in photo voltaic manufacturing in U.S. historical past.

Forward of this week’s go to, Basic Motors and South Korea’s Samsung SDI introduced plans to speculate greater than $3 billion in a brand new electrical automobile battery cell plant in the USA, which might start operations in 2026.

“Funding by ROK firms in the USA exhibits nice confidence within the U.S. economic system and the place the USA goes,” a senior administration official informed reporters Tuesday.

Indo-Pacific technique

Officers framed this week’s state go to as a part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to bolster its alliances within the Indo-Pacific to counter Chinese language affect.

A senior administration official famous that the state go to will mark the fifth time Biden has met with the chief of South Korea since taking workplace. Biden may even journey to the area subsequent month for the Group of Seven (G-7) summit, which is being held in Japan.

“It’s essential to put this go to within the bigger context of President biden taking the mandatory steps to essentially step up our recreation basically throughout the Indo-Pacific,” the official mentioned..

The senior administration official famous the Biden administration has labored with South Korea to redirect a few of its financial and expertise investments which have beforehand gone to China in order that they now go to the USA.

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And Sullivan on Monday celebrated that Yoon “has additionally proven willpower and braveness in his strikes to enhance ties between the ROK and Japan, a problem that has lengthy been of deep curiosity to President Biden.”

Press convention

Biden and Yoon will maintain a joint press convention with reporters from each nations on Wednesday, which is widespread throughout state visits however has grow to be much less of a staple of international chief visits beneath the Biden administration.

White Home reporters have pressed Jean-Pierre and different administration officers in latest weeks over the shortage of formal press conferences with Biden, which have up to now been normal throughout international chief visits. Jean-Pierre has sometimes mentioned it’s a joint determination made with the visiting international chief.

Biden has up to now few months hosted international leaders from Brazil, Eire and Colombia, however has not held a joint press convention with any of them. He additionally didn’t maintain a press convention throughout a latest journey to the UK and the Republic of Eire. 

In some circumstances, resembling when the Colombian president visited final week, international leaders have opted to talk to reporters solo exterior the West Wing.