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Biden-Moon summit indicates a new realism in Seoul

Friday, May 28, 2021


The first was Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, in April. While this priority sends a clear signal to Beijing, in each case there was also a substantial bilateral and regional agenda.


  • Beijing sees itself as targeted and may react tangibly.
  • Since South Koreans mistrust China even more than Japan, Moon need not fear public opinion if relations with Beijing worsen.
  • Pyongyang could respond with a missile launch.
  • Closer trilateral cooperation with Tokyo, as Biden wants, will meet resistance at home and may have to await Moon’s departure from office.

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