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Will Quad be expanded to include South Korea?

US President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit South Korea ahead of the Quad summit in Japan later this month. He will be holding bilateral meetings with President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese PM Kishida Fumio.

Shashwat Bhandari Written by: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: May 01, 2022 22:43 IST
South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol, second from
Image Source : PTI

South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol, second from left, speaks as Gen. Paul LaCamera, right, commander of USFK and the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, listens during his visit to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

Highlights

  • Quad comprises of India, US, Japan and Australia
  • The group has been formed to keep a check at regional peace and China's action
  • US President Biden will be meeting South Korean counterpart ahead of Quad summit later this month

South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-Yeol’s recently expressed desire to join Quad — Quadrilateral Security Dialogue -- comprising India, US, Japan and Australia — has sparked a new debate around the future framework of the grouping.

It is worth mentioning that US President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit South Korea ahead of the Quad summit in Japan later this month. There are talks going in circles that Biden's visit to Seoul just ahead of Quad summit may be in regard to South Korea's inclusion in the group.

According to a report by Asia Times, in order to keep a check at China's action, South Korea is willing to play a more active role with Quad in the near future.

Especially in the wake of a changing world order due to Russia-Ukraine war, Seoul is willing to play a more balanced relations with China.

Speculations are also around that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also wants a more inclusive role of South Korea with the forum to keep a check at China's action.

Russia-Ukraine war has impacted the geo-political status of the world with several nations standing behind US-Europe led condemnation of Moscow while a few have supported Putin's action.

India keeping its national interest ahead has maintained a neutral stand by not openly condemning Russia's action but also providing humanitarian aide to the worn-torn Ukraine.

India abstained from voting on a couple of resolutions against Russia by UNSC, UNGA but also expressed its wish of hoping that the war should end soon.

Joe Biden to meet PM Modi in Quad summit this month

US President Joe Biden will travel to South Korea and Japan this month and attend the Quad summit in Tokyo, during which he will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Biden’s trip to South Korea and Japan has been scheduled from May 20 to 24.

"This trip will advance the Biden-Harris administration’s rock-solid commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had said earlier.

Biden will also hold bilateral meetings with South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan.

"The leaders will discuss opportunities to deepen our vital security relationships, enhance economic ties and expand our close cooperation to deliver practical results.

“In Tokyo, President Biden will also meet the leaders of the Quad grouping of Australia, Japan, India and the United States. We look forward to having further details to share about this trip soon," Psaki said.

Quad took shape in 2017

In November 2017, the US, Australia, India and Japan gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China's growing military presence in the strategic region.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.

Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. Beijing is also involved in a maritime dispute with Japan over the East China Sea.

The Quad leaders, at their first-in-person summit in Washington in September last year hosted by US President Biden, had pledged to ensure a "free and open" Indo-Pacific, which is also "inclusive and resilient", as they noted that the strategically vital region, witnessing China's growing military manoeuvring, is a bedrock of their shared security and prosperity.

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