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S. Korea-U.S. Summit: Will N. Korea Respond? China's Reaction: Analysis with S. Korean, U.S. Experts Updated: 2021-05-26 15:25:57 KST

A historic day for the South Korea, U.S. alliance is how many observers assessed the South Korea, U.S. Summit and the following joint news conference by Presidents Moon and Biden last week.
Now, we're seeing various agreements made by the leaders being followed up - ranging from vaccine partnership to dealing with North Korea.
We've also seen an unhappy China react to the joint statement.
Now that the blueprint for the future of South Korea, U.S. alliance has been provided, how will other parties involved in this region - namely, North Korea and China respond?

I have in the studio with me Dr. Go Myong-hyun, our senior North Korea analyst and senior research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies and later in the segment we'll bring in Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific Security Chair at Hudson Institute.

Dr. Go, as always, thank you for being with us this evening.

Now that we've had some time to go over the S. Korea, U.S. joint statement, there was an explicit mention of North Korea's human rights but Presidents Moon and Biden didn't go too far in provoking the North. Instead, they made clear denuclearization efforts will build on the Panmunjeom Declaration and 2018 Singapore agreement. Now the ball is in North Korea's court. Do we expect North Korea to react?

North Korea experts remain divided on the importance of having the Panmunjeom Declaration and the Singapore Agreement included in the joint statement.
Some say it's a gamechanger in getting North Korea reengaged in dialogue while others don't place much meaning. Like everything else in life, you need to build on your past to move forward whether the past has been a success or a failure. Do you think there could be a gap in the way this is interpreted between Seoul and Washington?

South Korea's national intelligence chief Park Jie-won flew to the U.S. to follow up on the leaders' summit last week. We're also hearing that the U.S. has already reached out to North Korea for talks. His first stop is apparently New York and then Washington. Does this mean that the New York channel is open and will North Korea accept the invitation for dialogue?

As re-engagement with North Korea was one of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's top priorities during the summit last week, U.S. President Joe Biden had his own priorities. Strengthening South Korea, U.S. bilateral alliance, yes, but, observers say also pulling South Korea further in alignment with the U.S.' broader strategy for the Indo-Pacific region.
For some more perspective, we are joined by Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific Security Chair at Hudson Institute.
Patrick Cronin, great to have you with us.

Now that we've had the time to digest the joint statement and read between the lines, what does the summit signal about the U.S. approach to South Korea in dealing with China?

For the first time, a Seoul-Washington joint summit statement included reference to the Taiwan Strait which prompted China's warning that it "won't tolerate infringement on sovereign matters by outside forces." Do we expect Beijng to make any further moves vis-a-vis Seoul?

Moon and Biden also reaffirmed the importance of transparent regional multilateralism, including the Quad. As the U.S. makes clear that Seoul's strategic ambiguity between Washington and Beijing will no longer be a choice, what would be the wisest steps for South Korea to make from here on forth?

Patrick Cronin of Hudson Institute, many thanks for speaking with us this evening. We appreciate it.

Meanwhile, Dr. Go, North Korea is likely to be one of the agenda items during U.S.-Russia summit set for next month. What can we expect from the summit?

Dr. Go, thank you as always.
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