South Korea to examine joining Quad grouping

The aim is to strengthen the country’s military position, says official

April 26, 2022 10:29 pm | Updated 10:29 pm IST - NEW DELHI

South Korea’s president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol. File

South Korea’s president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

In a change in South Korea’s position on balanced relations with China and the U.S. because of the Ukraine conflict, President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who will be inaugurated two weeks later, has announced that his country will examine joining the Quad grouping to strengthen its military position, said Maj. Gen. Jung Hae-II, President, Korea National Defence University, South Korea.

“So far the South Korean government’s position has been to maintain balancing position between China and the U.S... President Yoon officially announced yesterday that we will examine joining the Quad. The South Korean government’s position will be changing...,” Maj. Gen. Jung said at a panel at the ongoing Raisina dialogue organised by the Observer Research Foundation and the Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr. Yoon who won the presidential election early March is scheduled to take over on May 10.

Maj. Gen. Jung said, “We need good military and economic relations with India and Pacific strategy with the U.S. instead of China,” he stated.

To a question on the possible timeline of such a move, Maj. Gen. Jung said he did not know yet and “may be this year or next year.”

‘No policy on expansion’

However, officials from Quad countries had stated in the past that there was no policy yet on expanding the grouping consisting of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S.

The Quad leaders held a virtual summit in March to announce a new mechanism for humanitarian assistance in the Indo-Pacific, and the impact of the Ukraine crisis on the region. Another in-person meeting of leaders was held in Washington in September last year. Another in-person Quad leaders summit is scheduled in Tokyo in the coming months.

On several occasions, officials had termed Quad a diplomatic construct and a consultation mechanism for wider cooperation between the four countries while ruling out a security angle to it.

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