rainn.png
Thursday July 7th, 2022 5:50AM

Biden, South Korean leader to consult on how to check NKorea

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Joe Biden is devoting his Saturday to cementing ties with South Korea and its new leader Yoon Suk Yeol as the two sides consult on how best to check the nuclear threat from North Korea at a time when there's little hope of real diplomacy on the matter.

The division of the Korean peninsula after World War II has led to two radically different nations. In South Korea, Biden is touring factories for computer chips and next-generation autos in a democracy and engaging in talks for greater cooperation. But in the North, there is a deadly coronavirus outbreak in a largely unvaccinated autocracy that can best command the world's attention by flexing its nuclear capabilities.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as Biden made his way to South Korea, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. has coordinated with Seoul and Tokyo on how they’ll respond should the North conduct a nuclear test or missile strike while Biden is in the region or soon after. Sullivan also spoke with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi earlier in the week and urged Beijing to use its influence to persuade the North to cease the tests.

“China should contemplate taking whatever steps it can to reduce the possibility of a provocative” act, Sullivan said.

As part of a five-day visit in Asia, Biden is focusing his Saturday on his relationship with Yoon, who assumed office little more than a week ago. One mission will be reassuring South Korea about the U.S. commitment to countering North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

There’s worry in Seoul that Washington is slipping back to the Obama administration’s “strategic patience” policy of ignoring North Korea until it demonstrates seriousness about denuclearization, an approach that was criticized for neglecting the North as it made huge strides in building its nuclear arsenal.

Prospects for real nuclear diplomacy are slim as North Korea has ignored South Korean and U.S. offers of assistance with its COVID-19 outbreak, dimming hopes that such cooperation could help ease nuclear tensions or even lead to talks. Still, Biden and Yoon are expected to discuss ways to work with the international community to get the North much needed vaccines and tests, according to senior Biden administration officials who briefed reporters.

The U.S. president opened Saturday by laying a wreath at Seoul National Cemetery, wearing white gloves and a somber expression as he also burned incense and then signed a guest book. Biden then greeted Yoon at the People's House for a private meeting. The pair will later hold a joint news conference and attend a leaders' dinner at the National Museum of Korea.

One focus is sure to be a North that is menacing yet economically fragile. Yet both leaders also are keen to emphasize their growing trade relationship as two Korean industrial stalwarts — Samsung and Hyundai — are opening major plants in the U.S.

Biden faces growing disapproval within the U.S. over inflation near a 40-year high, but his administration sees one clear economic win in the contest with China. Bloomberg Economics Analysis estimates that the U.S. economy will grow faster this year than China for the first time since 1976, a forecast that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre credited to Biden's spending on coronavirus relief and infrastructure that led to faster job growth.

The national security event that is galvanizing broader discussions between the two countries has been Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a war that has led to an unprecedented set of sanctions by the U.S. and its allies.

South Korea joined the U.S. in imposing export controls against Russia and blocking Russian banks from the SWIFT payments system. Its participation was key to stopping Russia’s access to computer chips and other technologies needed for weapons and economic development.

At the start of the administration, many White House officials thought that Kim’s nuclear ambitions would prove to be perhaps the administration’s most vexing challenge and that the North Korean leader would aim to test Biden’s mettle early in his time in office.

Through the first 14 months of Biden’s administration, Pyongyang held off on missile tests even as it ignored efforts by the administration to reach out through back channels in hopes of restarting talks that could lead to the North’s denuclearization in return for sanctions relief.

But the quiet didn't last. North Korea has tested missiles 16 separate times this year, including in March, when its first flight of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017 demonstrated a potential range including the entire U.S. mainland.

The Biden administration is calling on China to restrain North Korea from engaging in any missile or nuclear tests. Speaking on Air Force One, Sullivan said Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping could hold a phone call in the coming weeks.

Biden has fiercely criticized Beijing over its human rights record, trade practices, military harassment of the self-ruled island of Taiwan and more. And while Biden has made clear that he sees China as the United States’ greatest economic and national security competitor, he says it is crucial to keep the lines of communication open so the two powers can cooperate on issues of mutual concern. North Korea is perhaps highest on that list.

White House officials said Biden won’t visit the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean peninsula during his trip -- something that’s become standard for presidents during Seoul visits dating back to Ronald Reagan. Biden visited the DMZ in 2013 as vice president. Sullivan said the president's decision to skip the stop this time wasn't driven by security concerns.

Instead, Biden on Sunday will visit the Air Operations Center’s Combat Operations Floor on Osan Air Base, south of Seoul. The U.S. sees it as one of the most critical installations in Northeast Asia.

___

Associated Press writer Kim Tong-Hyung contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online President, White House, advisers News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden, South Korean leader to consult on how to check NKorea
President Joe Biden is devoting his Saturday to cementing ties with South Korea, but the effort could complicated by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
11:54PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Curry, Warriors rally past Mavs for 2-0 lead in West finals
Stephen Curry scored 32 points with six 3-pointers and eight rebounds, Kevon Looney had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors used one of their signature third-quarter flurries to rally past the Dallas Mavericks 126-117 for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals
11:48PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Story's slam snagged by former Sox player in Monster seats
Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story has connected again — this time with a former Boston player seated atop the Green Monster
11:43PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Judge: COVID asylum restrictions must continue on border
A federal judge in Louisiana is refusing to end pandemic-related restrictions on migrants seeking asylum on the southern border
10:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pa. Senate GOP primary too close to call, recount likely
Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for an open U.S. Senate seat is too close to call and is likely headed for a statewide recount to decide the winner of the contest between heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick
8:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
Ukraine aid bill hitching ride to Seoul for Biden signature
The $40 billion U.S. package of assistance for Ukraine as it tries to fend off Russia's aggression is hitching a ride on a commercial flight to South Korea so it can be signed by President Joe Biden
7:04PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Live updates | New gas pipeline reduces dependence on Russia
A 500-million-euro ($530 million) Lithuanian-Polish natural gas transmission pipeline was inaugurated Thursday, completing another stage of regional independence from Russian energy sources
8:00AM ( 2 weeks ago )
DC reaches $750K settlement in Trump inaugural lawsuit
Former President Donald Trump’s businesses and inaugural committee have reached a deal to pay Washington, D
1:14PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Live updates | EU on cusp of proposing new Russia sanctions
The European Union’s top diplomat says the bloc’s executive branch is on the cusp of proposing a new raft of sanctions against Russia
10:51AM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Online President, White House, advisers News
Russia claims to have taken full control of Mariupol
Russia claims to have captured Mariupol in what would be its biggest victory yet in its war with Ukraine
9:33PM ( 2 hours ago )
The AP Interview: US trade rep. sees opportunity in recovery
The top U.S. trade negotiator says with world economies all suffering from more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic and global supply problems exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States has an “incredible opportunity” to engage with other nations and forge new partnerships and agreements
8:13PM ( 3 hours ago )
Rare tornado batters northern Michigan town, injuring some
A rare tornado has torn through a small community in northern Michigan, causing an unknown number of injuries, flipping vehicles and tearing the roofs off buildings
7:51PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
The AP Interview: New Pakistani FM seeks better ties with US
Pakistan's new foreign minister says his country has resumed engagement with the United States after years of strained relations under former Prime Minister Imran Khan
4:32PM ( 7 hours ago )
Wall Street nears bear market at the end of a bruising week
Another fall for stocks on Friday has the S&P 500 flirting with a 20% drop from its peak set early this year, putting it within the grasp of what Wall Street calls a bear market
3:48PM ( 8 hours ago )
Yellen's global tax plan meets resistance abroad and at home
Last July, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen celebrated it as a “historic day” when more than 100 nations agreed to a global minimum tax deal meant to reform and equalize the world’s economy
3:41PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Curry, Warriors rally past Mavs for 2-0 lead in West finals
Stephen Curry scored 32 points with six 3-pointers and eight rebounds, Kevon Looney had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors used one of their signature third-quarter flurries to rally past the Dallas Mavericks 126-117 for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals
11:48PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Story's slam snagged by former Sox player in Monster seats
Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story has connected again — this time with a former Boston player seated atop the Green Monster
11:43PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Acuña's 1st game in Miami since knee injury, leads Braves
Ronald Acuña Jr. had two hits and the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 5-3
11:39PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Smith, Raanta, Hurricanes top Rangers for 2-0 series lead
Brendan Smith scored a short-handed goal late in the second period while Antti Raanta finished with 21 saves to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 2-0, taking a 2-0 lead in their second-round playoff series
10:59PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Rare northern Michigan tornado kills 1, injures more than 40
A rare northern Michigan tornado that hammered a small town has killed at least one person and injured more than 40
10:55PM ( 1 hour ago )