For the United States, South Korea, Japan cooperation is more important than any other relationship said U.S. State Department's Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Sung Kim as he stressed the Biden administration's commitment to strengthening America's relationships, not only with its allies but those among allies.
Joining us live from New York is Stephen Noerper, Senior Director for Policy at Korea Society and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.
It's quite apparent that the Biden administration places much more emphasis on the Seoul, Washington, Tokyo trilateral cooperation than the previous Trump administration. Why is that?
This comes as Seoul and Tokyo while having suffered from centuries of built-up animosity due to sensitive historical issues have hit a new low in recent years. President Moon, however, extended an olive branch during his March 1st Independence Movement Day speech.
Could we anticipate improved relations between the two? Do you think the U.S. could play a role?
With U.S. policy toward North Korea in limbo as the new administration in Washington conducts a months-long policy review, former officials and experts are sparring over whether to shift focus from seeking the North's full denuclearization. What are your thoughts on this?
Chief negotiators for the Seoul, Washington defense cost-sharing talks left for D.C. earlier today. The two sides are set to meet on Friday there and it's highly likely that they will strike a deal this time with a 13 percent increase on South Korea's share in covering the cost. This is no surprise. We all expected a smooth deal here. What about the full Operational Control transfer to South Korea? How does the Biden administration feel about keeping that on schedule and collaborating on the most effective way to manage the North Korea nuclear problem?
Stephen Noerper, Senior Director for Policy at Korea Society and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, many thanks as always for your insights. We appreciate it.