The South Korea that Biden encounters

Ramon Pacheco Pardo

President Moon Jae-in has welcomed incoming president Joe Biden by reiterating the value of the ROK-US alliance. What kind of South Korea will Biden be facing? For many years, South Korea has been able to implement a more or less autonomous foreign policy. Facing constraints, yes. But also putting South Korean interests first. It is a South Korea that is more independent and confident in its foreign policy goals and sees a strong alliance with the United States as a crucial component of its foreign policy. For many South Korean policy-makers, their country’s rise as a regional power – and, increasingly, as a more important player in global affairs – has been facilitated rather than constrained by the ROK-US alliance. It is also a South Korea that will be willing to support US initiatives aimed at checking China’s rise – as long as they don’t openly challenge Beijing.

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