South Korea is giving positive consideration to joining the U.S.-led technology alliance I-P-E-F, and a decision could be made next week during U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Japan.
Seoul's foreign minister Park Jin said this when asked in a parliamentary briefing Tuesday whether South Korea is going to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
"It's highly possible that the topic will be discussed in the summit between the leaders of South Korea and the U.S. I believe our joining of the framework will be decided at an IPEF-related meeting in Tokyo next week."
The I-P-E-F is a U.S.-led initiative to reduce dependence on China in areas including global supply chains and digital economy.
And while the framework is aimed at countering China, the foreign minister did acknowledge that Beijing has its own concerns about the effect of the I-P-E-F on the regional order.
According to Chinese reports, China's foreign minister Wang Yi told Park that the two sides must oppose moves to decouple economically and ensure that the world's supply chains remain stable and smooth.
Some analysts say Wang's comments are likely meant as a check on the Seoul-Washington economic-security alliance.
Asked about that view, an official at South Korea's foreign ministry said only that the Chinese side did comment on maintaining stable supply chains but did not elaborate.
Another ministry official also said that the first virtual talks between the foreign ministers of Seoul and Beijing were friendly and earnest, with the two, at times, speaking in the other's language.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.