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FM: Seoul Hopes to Engage with Biden's Democracy Summit Next Year

Written: 2020-12-11 11:57:31Updated: 2020-12-11 15:59:26

FM: Seoul Hopes to Engage with Biden's Democracy Summit Next Year

Photo : YONHAP News

South Korea's top diplomat has expressed interest in participating in a leaders' summit for democracy expected to be hosted by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden following his January 20 inauguration.

At a webinar hosted by the Washington-based Aspen Institute on Friday, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said democratic expansion is a key area in which Seoul hopes to cooperate with the incoming U.S. administration.

The minister said Seoul is "very encouraged" by the signs coming from the Biden camp regarding the South Korea-U.S. alliance, adding that the renewal of a bilateral deal for the upkeep of U.S. Forces Korea(USFK) should be "one of the first issues" on the agenda.

Defense cost-sharing talks have been deadlocked as the allies remain at odds over the annual increase in Seoul's contribution, with Washington demanding a 50 percent hike, far exceeding South Korea's proposal of 13 percent.

Emphasizing that collaboration with the Donald Trump administration has been "extraordinarily vast and deep," Kang said the "unconventionalness" of the administration may have been a challenge.

On efforts to achieve North Korea's denuclearization, the minister stressed the need for the incoming U.S. administration to express "political will" for bilateral engagement with Pyongyang.

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