Cho Tae-yul to visit DC to meet with Blinken

Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet his South Korean counterpart Cho Tae-yul in Washington today.

Discussions are expected to focus on North Korea which has taken a more aggressive stance on inter-Korean relations in the past few months. Blinken may push for South Korea to take a more leading role in supporting Ukraine considering congressional deadlock in the US and increasing Russia-North Korean cooperation. In particular, Kyiv desires the South Korean-made K2 tanks.  While Seoul provides humanitarian and non-lethal assistance to Ukraine it has so far hesitated to provide Ukraine with military aid out of fear that Russia would respond with increasing assistance to Pyongyang.

A significant shift in South Korean policy is unlikely in the short to medium term given any arms sent to Ukraine could deplete Seoul’s combat readiness vis-a-vis North Korea. However, third-party arms purchases of South Korean equipment that get delivered to Kyiv may increase in number. In addition, an increase in South Korean military capabilities or defense production could deter Pyongyang from further assistance to Russia as it seeks to boost the capabilities of its forces on the inter-Korean border.

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