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Yoon, Biden, Kishida meet for first time in 6 months

Nov. 17, 2023 - 12:36 By Son Ji-hyoung
From left: President Yoon Suk Yeol US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pose for a photo at Moscone Center in San Francisco on Thursday, (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol met US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Moscone Center in San Francisco on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' week on Thursday, according to Yoon's office on Friday.

It was their first trilateral meeting in six months. They last met in Hiroshima, Japan, during the Group of Seven meeting in May.

The talks lasted for about 10 minutes, according to Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy director of the presidential National Security Office on Thursday. He added that Biden appreciated Yoon and Kishida's roles in relieving the burden on him.

It appears that Yoon, Biden and Kishida are content with the current activity in high-level trilateral communication, based on the success of the trilateral partnership launched in August at Camp David, Maryland, said another presidential office official on condition of anonymity.

The three leaders also reached a consensus that cutting-edge technological development is crucial to the enhanced military security capability in East Asia, and that this cutting-edge technology can be shared with partners that can trust each other in terms of defense, political system and ideological pursuit, the official added.

President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) greets Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ahead of the bilateral talks in San Francisco on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Their meeting came after Yoon held talks with Kishida in a bilateral meeting that lasted about 35 minutes earlier Thursday. It was their first encounter in two months, and their seventh meeting this year.

According to Yoon's office, Yoon and Kishida spoke highly of the recovery of the people-to-people exchanges to the pre-pandemic level, as well as of the mutual cooperation over the evacuation operation from the Middle East. Yoon and Kishida also agreed to deepen cooperation to address the Global South, a geographical concept represented by superpowers such as China and India.

Also on Thursday, Yoon held one-on-one talks with Chilean President Gabriel Boric to discuss ways for cooperation over Chile's export of important minerals, such as lithium and copper, to Korean secondary battery powerhouses. He also met Peruvian President Dina Boluarte and discussed the matter of the hosting of APEC leaders' summit. Peru is the APEC summit host nation in 2024, and South Korea will succeed the role in 2025.

Also on Thursday, Yoon and Chinese President Xi Jinping briefly exchanged greetings during the APEC summit. Seoul has yet to confirm any plans for talks between Yoon and Xi during their visit to the US.

President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) shakes hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the APEC leaders' week in San Francisco on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, Yoon's office on Friday expressed high hopes for supply chain resilience within the Indo-Pacific region, in the wake of the agreement reached over the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework's two remaining pillars of anti-corruption and clean energy Thursday.

According to Yoon's office, the summit also launched the IPEF Critical Minerals Dialogue to foster regional cooperation over ways to strengthen critical mineral supply chain; and IPEF networks to encourage deeper people-to-people exchange within member countries of the US-led framework designed to counter China's influence on Asian countries.

Yoon's office expected Thursday's agreements to increase the stability and transparency of the business environment within the APEC region and boost Korean companies' regional presence.

Yoon is on the second day of his visit to the US. He and first lady Kim Keon Hee arrived in San Francisco Wednesday to attend the APEC leaders' summit. Yoon and Kim are to return to Seoul on Saturday.