Normalization of the Korea-US alliance will be the key topic of the meetings

People Power Party Representative Park Jin, center, and Representative Cho Tae-yong, left, and other members of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s U.S. political delegation talk to the press at the airport International in Incheon on Sunday morning before departing for their week-long visit to Washington to meet with members of the Joe Biden administration and Congress to coordinate US-Korean policies on North Korea and other regional affairs . [NEWS1]

Normalization of the Korea-US alliance will be a key message in upcoming meetings in Washington, according to People Power Party (PPP) representative Park Jin, head of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s special delegation to the United States. United.

“The delegation will convey President-elect Yoon’s desire to normalize the Korea-US alliance to the US administration, Congress, government members and the private sector,” Park told reporters at the international airport. from Incheon on Sunday morning.

Park and members of the delegation, including PPP representative Cho Tae-yong, a former vice foreign minister, and Chung Jae-ho, a professor of international politics at Seoul National University, were due to meet with members of the Biden administration, Congress and think tanks in Washington during their week-long visit.

When asked if the delegation would meet President Biden at a press conference on Friday, Yoon’s spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye did not comment, but added that she would meet the ” responsible key personnel” in Washington.

“We feel a great sense of responsibility to leave for the United States at a time like this when the Korean peninsula is facing tense geopolitical situations, with the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea, the US-China rivalry and changes in the global supply chain,” Park said.

Park, a four-term lawmaker who passed free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, and North Korea’s human rights law while leading the business committee of the National Assembly from 2008 to 2010, was a vocal critic of the Moon Jae-in administration’s “strategic ambiguity” in the face of the US-China rivalry, as well as its plan to officially declare the end of the Korean War of 1950-53.

The Moon administration pushed to officially declare an end to the war that ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas still technically at war.

“The declaration of the end of the war without substantial denuclearization of the North will neutralize the [Korea-U.S.] alliance and jeopardize the security of the Korean Peninsula,” Park reportedly said during a closed meeting with members of the Seoul-based Korea-US Alliance Foundation last month.

“The ambiguous position of ‘strategic ambiguity’ undermines the confidence of the alliance,” Park also reportedly said during the meeting. “We have to look at China with precision and make a cold and pragmatic judgement. The next government will protect Korea’s national interests, identity and people’s right to life, and pursue dignified diplomacy that speaks for itself.

The delegation was also expected to discuss joint Korea-US military exercises, which have been scaled back since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and Seoul-Washington-Tokyo trilateral cooperation, despite the current diplomatic low between the Korea and Japan on a number of issues arising from the Japanese annexation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

Park and Cho from the delegation have been offered as potential candidates for the post of foreign minister in the new Yoon administration.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

Jessica C. Bell