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Biden and Yoon discuss security amid North Korean 'saber noises'

2022-05-21T03:45:46.596Z

The American president is in South Korea for his first trip to Asia as president, a tour over which hangs the shadow of a possible North Korean nuclear test.



US President Joe Biden and his new South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol are meeting on Saturday May 21 in Seoul to discuss their military alliance, as North Korea threatens to resume its five-year-old nuclear tests.

Joe Biden's first trip to Asia as president is somewhat overshadowed by what a US official has called

'saber rattles'

coming from North Korea, which the White House says could take advantage of this moment highly publicized to test a missile or an atomic bomb.

“On our side, we are ready

,” said this official, on condition of anonymity, to journalists traveling with Joe Biden.

Read alsoNorth Korea: Kim Jong-un caught up by Omicron

South Korean intelligence services have warned that North Korea has completed preparations to carry out a nuclear test, which would be the seventh in its history and the first in five years.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price acknowledged that a

“provocation”

from Pyongyang was a real risk.

"We are concerned that the DPRK may attempt another provocation during the president's visit to Northeast Asia or in the days that follow

," Ned Price said, referring to North Korea by its acronym. official (Democratic People's Republic of Korea).

Adding to the uncertainties, North Korea is currently facing a major Covid-19 epidemic, with nearly 2.6 million cases and 66 deaths, according to the latest official figures released on Saturday.

How this crisis will affect the military decisions of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is the great unknown that Americans and South Koreans are trying to clarify.

Either way, the decision whether or not to carry out a nuclear test will be key in setting the course for US-South Korean relations during President Yoon's five-year term, the former analyst at AFP told AFP. CIA Soo Kim.

"If Kim conducts a trial run during Biden's visit, it will indeed help both countries find a greater rationale for working together on the North Korea issue

," she said.

“A strong personal relationship”

Arrived Friday in South Korea, Joe Biden began his day on Saturday by meditating in a cemetery for soldiers who fell during the Korean War (1950-1953).

He was then to meet with Yoon Suk-yeol, before a joint press conference followed by a state dinner.

While tensions with North Korea and Russia's invasion of Ukraine will be top topics of conversation, Joe Biden's main goal at Saturday's summit is to establish

"a strong personal relationship"

with Yoon Suk- yeol, who came to power on May 10, the US official said.

Like Japan, South Korea is seen as a key player in the US strategy to contain China and maintain what Washington calls

the "free and open Indo-Pacific"

.

The two leaders

will “underline how much we have in common, how similar our views are on a very wide range of topics, how close the two countries are and how much we expect them to grow even closer

,” said the American official, pointing out that the same principles applied in Japan.

Read also“Fever” in North Korea: why the situation is worrying

Relations between Biden and Yoon

“got off to a very good start”

when they first met on Friday, during a visit to a Samsung Group semiconductor factory outside Seoul, he added. .

In his first public remarks after arriving in South Korea, Joe Biden said the US-South Korea alliance was

"a pillar of peace, stability and prosperity"

in the world.

Joe Biden hailed Samsung's decision to build a new semiconductor plant in Texas, which will open in 2024.

In the state of Georgia (southern United States), the governor also announced on Friday that the South Korean automotive group Hyundai would build a factory for electric vehicles and batteries.

All good news for the Democratic leader, whose party fears a defeat in the midterm elections in November due to discontent among American voters, as prices rise and the post-Covid economic recovery is overdue.

Joe Biden will fly to Japan on Sunday, where he will meet the Emperor, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and participate in the Quad summit, this diplomatic format which brings together the United States, Japan, India and Australia.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2022-05-21

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