In April, the Biden administration released its Indo-Pacific strategy in which countering China featured prominently. In May, South Koreans elected a new president, Yoon Suk Yeol, who has promised to be tougher on Beijing. How should the United States approach South Korea on the issue of China?
Based on his campaign rhetoric, Washington expects President Yoon to be more sympathetic to the U.S. position on China compared with his progressive predecessor, Moon Jae-in. Yet President Yoon will face major constraints in moving toward a more confrontational China policy, as South Korean political elites differ substantially on how best to deal with a more assertive China amid growing Sino–U.S. competition. In Quincy Brief, “The Folly of Pushing South Korea Toward a China Containment Strategy,” Jessica J. Lee and Sarang Shidore explained why pushing South Korea toward China-containment could undermine American interests in the region.
To explore these issues and the Brief in greater depth, particularly in light of President Biden’s recent visit to South Korea and Secretary Blinken’s speech on China, the Quincy Institute will host a panel discussion featuring Joon Hyung Kim, Professor at Handong Global University and former Chancellor of Korea National Diplomatic Academy; Andrew Yeo, senior fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies at Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies; and Jessica J. Lee, senior research fellow in the East Asia program at the Quincy Institute. QI’s Director of Studies Sarang Shidore will moderate the conversation.