Biden Hosts Moon as North Korea, Chip Shortage Top Agenda
President Joe Biden welcomed South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the White House on Friday for talks expected to span North Korea’s nuclear program, a global semiconductor shortage and climate change.
Moon is the second world leader to visit Biden at the White House, and is eager to revive nuclear talks with Pyongyang that stalled after a series of failed summits between former U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Prospects for a breakthrough deal have faded, with North Korea largely cutting off contact with the U.S. and Moon. Biden’s team has narrowed its focus to more tangible agreements designed to boost regional security.
Still, a senior U.S. official said North Korea would be on Friday’s agenda, and that Biden would solicit advice from Moon on how to approach efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. The official briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.
In addition to North Korea, the U.S. is hoping the meeting can highlight other joint efforts between the two countries -- particularly related to technology and trade.
Biden is seeking help from South Korea’s advanced semiconductor industry for chips as Washington seeks to secure supply chains in its trade battles with China. Earlier Friday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Moon announced an agreement to deepen cooperation in a range of industries including pharmaceutical companies making Covid-19 vaccines, electric-vehicle batteries and semiconductor producers.
“The importance of this bilateral relationship for both nations cannot be overstated,” Raimondo said. “As we recover from the pandemic, our countries will benefit from deepening that collaboration, particularly in sectors that are critical to the future of our economies.”
Biden and Moon will also look to build on discussions U.S. climate envoy John Kerry held during an April visit to Seoul. The two countries are working to decarbonize power and transportation sectors, the U.S. official said.
Before the policy discussions kick off in earnest, Moon is slated to attend the Medal of Honor ceremony for Korean War veteran Ralph Puckett, Jr., becoming the first foreign head of state to participate in the awarding of the highest decoration for U.S. service members.
Later Friday afternoon, the two leaders are also expected to participate in a joint press conference.