China Tensions Are Deepening South Korea-US Economic Coordination
October 7, 2022
This article was published on The Diplomat on August 4, 2022.
One of South Korea’s biggest annual international conferences, the Asian Leadership Conference, was held in Seoul from July 13 to 14. Since its inception in 2005 by the Chosun Ilbo, the oldest and the largest newspaper in South Korea, many prominent world leaders have spoken at the conference, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Henry Kissinger. The theme of 2022 Asian Leadership Conference (ALC) was “Embracing the New Normal: A Proposal for the Future” and covered various topics such as metaverse, AI, women’s leadership, energy, entrepreneurship, ESG, press freedom, and more.
Leaders who participated in this year’s ALC agreed on the challenges the world faces today: uncertainty and hardship derived from COVID-19, the Ukraine war, inflation, and supply chain disruption. President Yoon Suk-yeol said at the opening ceremony of the conference that these challenges can only be solved with strong solidarity among the nations of the international community. He confirmed again that South Korea, as a global leader, would play a leadership role in addressing these shared challenges.
Emphasizing that the country has core competences in cutting edge industries like semiconductors and batteries, Yoon stated that South Korea would work to create mutually beneficial supply chains and promote international cooperation to reinforce technology and industry partnerships. He promised to help the private sector become the principal actor in efforts to achieve this task.
Economic security has become a buzzword these days. When then-U.S. President Donald Trump said, “For the first time, American strategy recognizes that economic security is national security” in December 2017, it represented a sea change in U.S. views about the national security threats created by unrestrained free trade. As the Trump administration’s new approach to trade became clear, fears were raised that it would lead to a series of trade wars – not just with a competitor like China, but also with allies like Japan, South Korea, and the European Union. The Biden administration has begun to allay such concerns by taking a more balanced approach.
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