On May 21, South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House, the first meeting between the two leaders. With the Biden administration having recently concluded a policy review advocating a cautious approach to diplomacy with Pyongyang, even as President Moon has pledged to use his final year in office to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough, the summit will be an important test of their ability to forge a common approach to North Korea.
However, President Biden’s pledge to put allies back at the center of U.S. foreign policy means that the two leaders will likely discuss issues beyond the Korean Peninsula, as they confront common challenges such as global health and pandemic recovery, supply chain disruptions, climate change, and the economic and military rise of China.
Meanwhile, the summit could be a critical opportunity for President Moon, facing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure, to reset the political agenda with less than a year remaining in his term. The Moon-Biden summit will therefore reveal the possibilities for the alliance as the new U.S. administration finds its footing and as South Korea looks ahead to a new president.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a conversation with leading experts to evaluate the outcome of the Moon-Biden summit and discuss its implications for strengthening bilateral cooperation as South Korea heads into its presidential election campaign.
We would love to hear your questions. Please submit any questions for our distinguished panel via email at CAPeventquestions@americanprogress.org or on Twitter using #USKoreaAgenda. Live captioning will be available on Zoom and on the YouTube livestream.
Ambassador Mark Lippert, Senior Adviser and Korea Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies; former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea
Jenna Gibson, PhD Student at the University of Chicago and Korea Columnist for The Diplomat
Dr. Heung-kyu Kim, Founder and Director of the China Policy Institute, Ajou University
Tobias Harris, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress