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Yoon-Biden summit to focus on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework; Pres. Yoon willing to provide help to N. Korea against COVID-19 Updated: 2022-05-16 10:04:02 KST

Our top story this afternoon.
President Yoon Suk-yeol gave his first policy speech at the National Assembly this morning.
He said he will discuss strengthening economic cooperation with Washhington when President Biden's in Seoul later this week.
For more, we have our presidential office correspondent Yoon Jung-min, on the line.
Jung-min, tell us more about what Yoon said about working with the U.S.

Mark, President Yoon said he's going to discuss bolstering a Seoul-Washington alliance on the economic security with President Biden.
Take a look first.

"I will discuss with U.S. President Biden, who's visiting South Korea this week, ways to strengthen cooperation on the global supply chain, through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. And discussions will include various economic security issues, such as the digital economy and carbon neutrality, not just ways to stabilize the supply chain."

Following North Korea's recent COVID-19 crisis, the President pledged support in terms of vaccines and medicine for North Korea.

"We should spare no effort in providing support to people in North Korea exposed to the coronavirus threat. I have repeatedly expressed my will to give humanitarian aid any time, without political or military considerations between the two Koreas. If the North Korean authorities respond, we will give sufficient support, including COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment and health workers."

But the President did say the security situation on the peninsula is severe citing North Korea's missile tests last week, only a few days, after the new South Korean government took office.
President Yoon also mentioned growing concerns over the possible resumption of nuclear testing by the regime.
He said peace shouldn't be "formal", but instead, should be "sustainable" which includes denuclearization in North Korea and a trust building process between the two Koreas.

What was his message on the extra budget proposal and measures against the pandemic?

President Yoon stressed the need to help small businesses hit by the pandemic as early as possible. Take a listen.

"In the process of COVID-19 distancing measures over the past two years, small businesses suffered massive damage and our economy and people's livelihoods are now in crisis. It's obvious that if full support is not provided in a timely manner, it will be impossible for small business owners, who have endured difficult times, to recover and it'll eventually cause a heavier financial burden on welfare."

Last week, a record extra budget proposal worth 46 billion U.S. dollars was passed at a Cabinet meeting, from which 28 billion dollars will be spent directly by the central government.
The President said the government had to consider ways to stabilize soaring prices while providing compensation at the same time.
He also mentioned the need for pension, labor and education reforms.

The President once again stressed the importance of bi-partisan cooperation and asked for support so that the extra budget can be confirmed at an early date.

Back to you, Mark.
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