With a new administration in the United States, countries around the world have been shifting their diplomatic gears from working with an America First policy to a more conventional form of engagement under President Joe Biden.
This of course includes South Korea, a longtime ally of the U.S., and a major trading partner.
Former President Donald Trump left much to be desired in bilateral ties and facing common challenges, primarily North Korea.
Will relations between Seoul and Washington grow stronger under Joe Biden and how soon will he proceed on dealing with North Korea, when he is already grappling with multiple domestic priorities?
To get the answers, we turn to Dennis Alan Ross who served as Congressman for Florida from 2011 to 2019. After four terms in the House of Representatives, he is now a distinguished professor of Political Science at Southeastern University, and also heads the American Center for Political Leadership.
Hello Mr. Ross, it's great to have you on the show.
1. Relations between South Korea and the U.S. have been strong throughout the decades but they did face some bumps in the road over the course of Mr. Trump's presidency due to him questioning the terms of our bilateral free trade agreement and the shared defense costs of keeping American soldiers on the Korean Peninsula. Do you see the relationship warming between President Biden and President Moon?
2. President Biden made it clear he wants to revive U.S. leadership and the spirit of multilateralism in the world. Do you think there's a sense of support or unity behind that in Congress, or do you think he will be challenged by your party the Republicans?
3. Many countries have shown support for President Biden's pledge to return to conventional U.S. diplomacy and strengthen multilateralism. What are some common values the U.S. and South Korea share and what do you think the two countries can work on together, as they face common goals and challenges in global governance?
4. Some worry that President Biden won't focus as much on foreign policy in terms of security and forging new trade deals given the urgent domestic issues he has to work through first. Do you think that's true? When will he get to North Korea?
5. Biden's team of key diplomats and security officials include Anthony Blinken, Wendy Sherman, and Jake Sullivan, as well as Jung Pak who are all very experienced in coordinating North Korea policy. How do you expect them to engage with the North Koreans? Will they push for CVID?
6. The Obama administration was criticised for being rather passive when it came to diplomacy in Asia, while President Trump may have caused too much of a stir. How would you characterise Biden's style of diplomacy, particularly when it comes to dealing with countries like China?
7. Do you think Biden would encourage Seoul and Tokyo to patch up their ties?
8. Before America reclaims global leadership, it seems it needs to overcome a strong sense of division in the country, How have you been encouraging people to come together at the American Center for Political Leadership?
That was Dennis Alan Ross who served as Congressman for Florida from 2011 to 2019. Thank you for your time.