Why doesn't US want to add South Korea to Quad?
Despite the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's desire to formally join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), the United States has not been enthusiastic about adding Korea to the four-way strategic forum, aimed at purportedly containing China's assertiveness. During his election campaign, Yoon pledged to take part in the Quad's various working groups like those on climate change and technologies in order to gradually join the network. In addition, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki also said, May 3, that the U. "The Biden administration seems worried that adding Korea could further antagonize China when U. "Korea would be a major addition to the group, perhaps a game changer.
Bruce Klingner, a former CIA deputy division chief of Korea and current senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said there were challenges to Korea's membership, including overcoming domestic public opposition fearful of Chinese retribution and potential Japanese resistance due to strained bilateral relations. "There are also concerns that bilateral Korea-Japanese disputes would detract from overall Quad goals. However, experts said Korea should not obsess excessively about the membership, adding that there are multiple areas at the working-group level that the country can contribute to the Quad. "In many respects, membership in the Quad is not the central consideration but rather it is the production of the working groups where the real progress will occur," U. "Korea has significant expertise for the existing Quad working groups on COVID-19 vaccines and climate change along with critical and emerging technologies.
"In the months ahead, with greater Korean participation in the Quad, the membership issue will sort itself out. Klingner also said rather than formally joining the Quad, it would be more effective for Korea to expeditiously engage in multilateral initiatives more directly focused on regional security missions. However, Klingner added that there will be ample opportunities for Quad members to work in the near term with Korea and other like-minded partners in a Quad-Plus format, forming functional coalitions where interests align. "Korea already participated in one such initiative when a Quad-Plus working group was formed that included regular videoconference calls with Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand to coordinate pandemic responses," he said, adding that Korea could be a candidate to participate in other Quad Plus coalitions covering maritime security or vaccine distribution, among others.
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