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S. Korea-U.S. Defense Cost Sharing Deal and Quad Plus Analyzed Updated: 2021-03-10 15:03:42 KST

South Korea and the U.S. finally have a new six-year Special Measures Agreement in place with an increase in burden-sharing by South Korea but still significantly less than demanded by the Trump administration.
It underscores U.S. President Joe Biden's efforts to ease tensions with a key ally often criticized by his predecessor what could it mean for North Korea, South Korea's North Korea policy and its role in this part of the world?
It's Reading between North Korean lines with Dr. Go Myong-hyun.

First of all, now that we have the details of the new arrangement what's your impression of it?
South Korea will pay a little over one-billion U.S. dollars to the U.S. for security this year, about a 14-percent increase from 2019 5.4 percent more next year with similar increases annually until 2025.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are preparing to visit Japan and South Korea next week as part of Biden's efforts to demonstrate an early diplomatic focus on Asia.
The annual South Korea, U.S. joint military exercises - although scaled back and absent of any outdoor drills - are currently underway. Against this backdrop, what's running through the mind of Kim Jong-un?
Is this a time to launch a provocation or like some say, is North Korea to busy with its own domestic agenda - to look after its economy - for anything else?

Blinken and Austin's visit to Japan and South Korea come as the Biden administration is reportedly wrapping up their policy review of North Korea - it's expected to be completed by the end of next month.
Do we expect the American officials and their counterparts in Seoul to be on the same page when it comes to dealing with North Korea when they sit down for talks next week?

President Biden is scheduled to hold summit with his Quad counterparts for the first-ever Quad summit. Do we expect the two Secretaries to ask for Seoul's participation in the Quad Plus during their visit to Seoul?

South Korea appears to be reviewing in positive light the possibility of joining the Quad Plus. How do you expect this to impact the geopolitical dynamics in this part of the world?

Dr. Go Myong-hyun, our very own Senior North Korea analyst on News In-Depth, many thanks as always for your insights. We appreciate it.
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