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Biden to pressure South Korea to confront China at the summit


The US is trying to persuade Moon Jae-in to accept China’s strong words as South Korean President becomes the second world leader to meet Joe Biden in Washington on Friday.

The White House calls for the Moon to restore strong language in the words agreed upon in the conference, as one way to work with allies deny China, according to five people who are familiar with the subject.

But four of those familiar with the talks between the White House and the Blue House, the Seoul royal palace, say Moon does not want to include languages ​​that could provoke a response from Beijing.

South Korea is expected to agree to the use of a working language “Quad”, a group of US, Japan, India and Australia who want to have Chinese power. But Seoul only wants a few remarks to avoid anger in China, which has criticized the US and other Quad members for the project.

While South Korea has security agreement and the US, has been refusing to be forced to focus too much on China. During the Trump administration, it pushed back US demands to ban South Korean companies working with Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications expert.

Seoul continues to fear further setbacks as South Korean companies face Chinese boycott in 2017 in response to the deployment of US Thaad weapons.

“The people of South Korea have a dream about Thaad sanctions,” said Victor Cha, a South Korean specialist at Georgetown University and a White House official. “Seoul does not want to make difficult decisions in China, but making a decision – hiding – is not a long-term process. It weakens cooperation and pollutes China. ”

Biden has been at the forefront of strengthening cooperation to create more power in China. In a meeting with Yoshihide Suga last month, he urged the Japanese Prime Minister to step down words to support Taiwan in the face of Chinese anger.

Suga accepted the language – the first word in 50 years – despite concerns about Tokyo’s economic recovery from China.

The White House does not expect the Moon to go to Suga. But one person said the US was “too attached” to the strict language in China. The second man said Biden expected Moon to be as ambitious as he had been given the opportunity of the second summit in Washington.

Seoul has asked the US to adopt the Covid-19 vaccine to address the challenges of human access. It also spoke of a “vaccination exchange” that could include the US issuing a vaccine soon and reintroducing it.

The White House has refused to comment on talks with South Korea. Blue House declined to comment on US pressure on China.

Moon also hopes to get support from Biden on what the US President wants to address the nuclear threat to North Korea after Trump and Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea, held three fruitless meetings.

Moon observers have been forcing Biden to lift international sanctions in Pyongyang or urge them to change draw Kim back on the table on nuclear negotiations.

Biden’s officials have recently completed a review of their policies in North Korea, with the presidential team showing readiness to resume contact with the ambassadors but that the sanctions will continue until Kim plays a key role in launching the arms embargo.

Seoul also wants Biden to name a delegate to North Korea, but a source close to the White House said the White House was divided among those who wanted it, saying that a declaration accompanying the summit would not be forthcoming.

Leaders from South Korean companies He will accompany Moon to Washington, and is expected to announce US investment in semiconductors, batteries and electric vehicles.

Follow Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter


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