S Korea to bolster cooperation with the US on supply chains, tech in 2022

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South Korea will expand “future-oriented” cooperation with the United States on supply chains, technologies, and other areas next year while reinforcing “conflict prevention” efforts with China, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry delineated the plans in a written policy report for 2022 to President Moon Jae-in as Seoul seeks to craft an optimal diplomatic strategy amid a hardening Sino-US rivalry on technological primacy, security, trade, and other fronts.

Delivered jointly with the unification and defense ministries, the report was the last annual government briefing on diplomatic, security, and North Korea policies to Moon before his single, five-year term ends in May, reports Yonhap news agency.

“We will further expand the horizons of cooperation between South Korea and the U.S. by continuing to push for future-oriented cooperation projects in areas, including public health, climate change, supply chains and cutting-edge technologies,” the ministry said.

As part of its “science and technology diplomacy,” South Korea will strengthen strategic cooperation with the U.S. on artificial intelligence, information and communications, quantum technology, and space development, the ministry said.

Since the White House summit between Presidents Moon and Joe Biden in May, the allies have moved to broaden their partnership beyond its security focus to cover an array of global issues, such as supply chain resiliency, climate change, and infectious diseases.

In China, the ministry said Seoul would seize on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral ties next year to strengthen high-level exchanges and ramp up efforts to prevent any future conflict with Beijing.

Concerns have persisted that the U.S. efforts to rally its democratic allies against China’s growing assertiveness could potentially take a toll on relations between Seoul and Beijing.

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