Ruling Party’s Visit to US Revived by Restoration of Korea-US Alliance during Biden Era

On Nov. 18, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted two resolutions to strengthen the Korea-U.S. alliance. First, there is the resolution regarding the “evaluation of the importance of the Korea-U.S. alliance and the contribution of Korean-Americans,” which states, “The alliance between South Korea and the U.S. is based on the security interests shared by the two countries.” It added that “the special agreement on sharing defense costs between South Korea and the U.S. should be signed with mutually acceptable content for many years … South Korea is a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy in Northeast Asia,” the resolution provides, acknowledging that the South Korea-U.S. alliance has shifted to a mutually beneficial global partnership.

The second resolution provides that “it is in the U.S. national interest to maintain the U.S. military presence in South Korea.” It is significant that the House of Representatives, meeting for the first time after the presidential election, adopted a resolution seeking to maintain U.S. military presence in South Korea and the conclusion of negotiations on sharing defense costs as soon as possible. This is because Congress acted in a bipartisan manner to support plans by President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office next January, to restore and strengthen the alliance. One could say that President Donald Trump laid the foundation for restoring the Korea-U.S. alliance, which has shown a rift by linking the U.S. military presence in South Korea with negotiations on defense costs. The possibility has increased for of a reasonable settlement of the defense cost-sharing deal, which has been stalled for nearly a year in the face of President Trump’s demand for a significant increase, for as early as next year.

Under these circumstances, the behavior of the Korean Peninsula Task Force delegate to the Democratic Party of Korea who visited the United States is pathetic. In a meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, the delegate made a statement to the effect that the Biden administration should continue the Trump administration’s engagement policy with North Korea. Rep. Song Young-gil, chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, said, “In dialogue with North Korea, there is a need for mutual harmony between the top-down and the bottom-up.” In two months, when Biden’s administration begins its work, it will make an argument that differs from Biden’s previous approach that put pressure on smaller local government in North Korea by those who will be leaving the current administration’s State Department. It is not true that the government has scattered ashes on the hard won process of restoring of the alliance.

The change of administrations in the U.S. is a delicate time when the next administration’s policies and key positions are outlined. When the Biden administration begins work, U.S. foreign policy will change significantly. While it is not enough to think about countermeasures to protect our diplomatic and security interests in line with the new U.S. policy direction, the government and the ruling party are contacting Trump administration officials individually that they want to “maintain the appeasement policy” toward North Korea. Given such amateur diplomacy, we are worried about how to deal with the diplomatic turbulence that will hit the Korean Peninsula in the future.

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