A historic day for the South Korea, U.S. alliance is how many observers assessed the South Korea, U.S. Summit and the following joint news conference by Presidents Moon and Biden last week.
Now, having carefully read through the South Korea, U.S. Joint Statement document, experts still agree that it put the alliance on the right track and provides an excellent blueprint for the future of the alliance.
But, remember, it's not what it appears to be on the surface. There are many more parties involved in this agreement than the two allies.
Let's try to decipher the statement. We have Evans Revere, Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group joining us live this evening.
Mr. Evans Revere was previously the principal Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Mr. Evans Revere, as always, it's wonderful to have you on the show.
I want to start with North Korea. In the joint statement, it reads the two leaders agree "dialogue based on the Panmunjom Declaration and the 2018 Singapore agreement are essential" to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
However, when asked what conditions North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would have to meet in order for President Biden to meet Kim, Biden said he would not do anything that would grant the North Korean leader international recognition unless he knows for sure through working level talks that Kim is serious about commitments regarding nuclear arsenal. How big of a value is this concept of continuity vis-a-vis North Korea important to the Biden administration?
If we put recent pieces together, the Biden administration's North Korea policy would take a "pragmatic approach" with "maximum flexibility" that's based on agreements made in 2018, with long-time North Korea negotiator, Sung Kim being the new U.S. pointman. While it is good news and may send a positive message to Pyeongyang, Sung Kim is still the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia. I wonder how effective it will be in appointing a pointman on North Korea at this point and despite all these adjectives describing the Biden administration's North Korea policy review and direction from here on forth, it still lacks specific details. Help us get a better grasp of Biden's North Korea policy.
An explicit mention of promoting North Korean human rights in the joint statement. Were you taken back by that at all? How do you expect North Korea to respond to the summit outcome?
For the first time, a Seoul-Washington joint summit statement included reference to the Taiwan Strait which prompted China's warning that it "won't tolerate infringement on sovereign matters by outside forces". Moon and Biden also reaffirmed the importance of transparent regional multilateralism, including the Quad. Do you interpret this as South Korea tilting towards the U.S. in Sino-U.S. hegemony war, and how would this impact future Seoul-Beijing relations?
The two leaders agreed to form close vaccine partnership, including vaccine manufacturing, with President Biden offering to provide South Korean troops with 555,000 doses. But they fell short of discussing vaccine swap, which was one of President Moon's top priorities. How do you assess the level of Seoul-Washington vaccine cooperation?
Evans Revere live from the U.S. for us. Thank you.