Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to raise concerns about US subsidy regulations during his summit with US President Joe Biden.
South Korea’s opposition to new U.S. electric vehicle subsidies will overshadow President Yoon Suk-yeol’s first official visit to the United States, disrupting the show of allied power with the United States. Washington recently.
Yoon, who was in London for the funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, departed for New York City late Monday to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). He will fly to Canada on Thursday for the final leg of his trip before returning home on Saturday.
In New York, Yoon will hold a summit with US President Joe Biden, where both leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s growing weapons threats and growing concerns. increase in South Korea on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) signed by Biden last month.
The new law eliminates federal tax credits for electric vehicles (EVs) manufactured outside of North America, meaning companies like Hyundai Motor Co and its subsidiary Kia Corp will no longer be eligible for subsidies. such level.
The law has sparked complaints from government officials in Seoul, who see it as a betrayal of Biden’s promises to boost bilateral economic ties after South Korean companies agreed. significant investment and building factory in USA.
Seoul officials said the law could violate the bilateral free trade agreement, and they have asked Washington to postpone the new regulations until Hyundai completes construction of the plant in Georgia in 2025. Yoon has likely to repeat that request at the upcoming summit.
A number of senior South Korean officials have been mobilized in recent weeks to convey concerns to their American counterparts and to the press for waivers, although the solutions are still unclear.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-han earlier this month that the IRA would bring “more pluses than bad” to South Korea but promised to review its validity. new rules.
“Structurally, it’s quite complicated because it’s been signed into law, but there’s still a way to implement it,” said a senior South Korean official closely involved in the discussions. Senior South Korean officials closely involved in the discussions said on condition of anonymity due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the matter.
When asked about the IRA, Yoon’s senior economic secretary, Choi Sang-mok, said both sides have not yet set an agenda for the summit but can discuss it because of its importance. its.
Yoon is also struggling to move forward on other key diplomatic and security issues such as improving relations with Japan and drawing North Korea back to denuclearization talks.
Yoon’s office said he plans to hold the first bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in New York, although some Japanese media reports suggest that the meeting may not take place because of political issues. Legal struggles over historical disputes remain unresolved.
According to a senior official at Yoon’s office, the president also plans to use his speech to the UNGA to reiterate the need for North Korea’s denuclearization, while Pyongyang denies the claims. Seoul’s recent announcement and negotiations remain stalled.
A diplomatic source told Reuters news agency that Seoul and Washington are seeking to reopen denuclearization talks without North Korea testing weapons or other major provocations.
“Our reactions to North Korea’s recent moves have been very low, aimed at not getting the attention they want,” the source said, requesting anonymity due to the nature of the matter. sensitivity of the matter.
“But we are sending a clear message that another nuclear test will have real consequences, even harsher than the determinations and measures taken after the sixth test and launch. long-range missiles.”