The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked the US and South Korea for showing their concern for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, after US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday in a joint statement underscored the importance of cross-strait peace and stability.
The comment echoed a similar statement by Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on April 16 and a joint communique of G7 foreign ministers on May 5, the ministry said.
Taiwan has been playing a key role in regional stability and prosperity, given its important location in the first island chain of East Asia, it said, adding that the government would continue to work with the US and other like-minded partners to defend democracy and the rules-based international order.
Biden wants Moon to take a strong stance on China’s activity toward Taiwan and other provocative moves Beijing has made in the region.
Biden on Friday also said he and Moon are “deeply concerned” about the situation with North Korea, adding that he would deploy a new special envoy to the region to help refocus efforts on pressing Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Meanwhile, Moon welcomed “America’s return” to the world stage and said both leaders pledged in their meeting to work closely toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Biden told a joint news conference with Moon that he was dispatching career diplomat Sung Kim, who previously served as ambassador to South Korea, to serve as the special envoy to the region.
Moon said the move by Biden “reflects the firm commitment of the US for exploring diplomacy and its readiness for dialogue with North Korea.”
Biden also announced that the US would vaccinate 550,000 South Korean service members who serve alongside US forces on the peninsula.
This marks the first commitment by the Biden administration for what it plans to do with the 80 million vaccine doses it aims to distribute globally in the next six weeks.
Biden has said he hopes to use domestically produced vaccines as a modern-day “arsenal of democracy,” a reference to the US effort to arm allies in World War II. At the same time, the White House has pledged not to attach policy conditions to countries receiving the doses as global vaccine diplomacy heats up.
Moon traveled to Washington seeking renewed diplomatic urgency by the US on curbing North Korea’s nuclear program, even as the White House signaled that it is taking a longer view on the issue.
The two also discussed coordination on vaccine distribution, climate change and regional security concerns spurred by China.
Their meeting was Biden’s second in-person session with a foreign leader because of the COVID-19 pandemic. His first was with Suga.
Moon said afterward that he and Biden spoke “like old friends” and emphasized the need for cooperation on security issues in the region.
“The most urgent common task that our two countries must undertake is achieving complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.
Biden did not rule out meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
However, in a veiled reference to former US president Donald Trump’s charm offensive with Kim, Biden said he would not replicate the efforts of the “recent past.”
Trump met face-to-face with the leader on three occasions and exchanged what he called “love letters” with him.
“I would not give him all that he’s looking for,” Biden said of Kim, namely “international recognition.”
His formal talks with Moon in the afternoon ran long, Biden said in earlier remarks, because “I enjoyed the meeting so much that it caused us to move everything back.”
Additional reporting by Lin Chia-nan
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