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New Friend in Asia? Yoon Suk-yeol’s Election Win in S Korea ‘Well-Timed’ for Biden, US Media Says

© REUTERS / KIM HONG-JIYoon Suk-yeol, the presidential election candidate of South Korea's main opposition People Power Party (PPP), gestures during his election campaign rally in Seoul, South Korea March 8, 2022
Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential election candidate of South Korea's main opposition People Power Party (PPP), gestures during his election campaign rally in Seoul, South Korea March 8, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.03.2022
On Wednesday, Yoon Suk-yeol, a candidate from the conservative opposition People Power Party, was elected president of South Korea with 48.56% of the vote.
Yoon Suk-yeol prevailing in South Korea’s presidential election this week indicates that US President Joe Biden “may have a new friend in Asia”, Bloomberg has reported.

The media outlet claimed that Yoon’s election victory is “well-timed” for POTUS, who is trying “to rally allies to counter” the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine, as well as China’s assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region and North Korea’s increasing missile tests.

Bloomberg recalled that during the election campaign, Yoon and his conservative People Power Party promised to take a tougher line against Beijing and Pyongyang if he wins the election.
The news outlet’s report follows the White House saying in a statement that Biden had congratulated Yoon on the election win during the two’s telephone conversation on Thursday.
According to the statement, both leaders “affirmed the strength of the US-ROK [Republic of Korea] alliance, which is the linchpin for peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific".
"President Biden emphasised the United States’ commitment to the defence of the ROK and that he looks forward to working together to deepen cooperation on key global challenges, including climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and supply chains. The two also committed to maintain close coordination on addressing the threats posed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear and missile programmes", the statement stressed.
Yoon, in turn, praised the US role regarding the Ukraine issue amid Russia's special operation in the country, which was described by his party as an “invasion”.
"Yoon Suk-yeol expressed respect for the way the United States, together with allies, manages the joint efforts of the international community in responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden also agreed that South Korea is playing a leading role in this", the party said in a statement.
On 24 February, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, responding to calls for help from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which had seen weeks of intensifying attacks by the Ukrainian Army. Russian President Vladimir Putin underlined that the goal of the operation is to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine. The Russian Defence Ministry said the operation is only targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure and that the civilian population is not in danger.
Late last week, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported that North Korea had launched a short-range missile from the Sunan area near the capital Pyongyang, in what has become the DPRK's ninth missile test since the beginning of this year. This came after North Korea confirmed in late January that it had launched a Hwasong-12 ICBM, the longest-range missile tested by Pyongyang since 2017. The DPRK is currently under strict international sanctions over its missile and nuclear weapons programmes.
Beijing, in turn, remains embroiled in a protracted dispute with Washington and a number of Asia-Pacific countries over the territorial status of islands in the South China Sea, where the US often conducts "freedom of navigation" missions, which have been slammed by the Chinese government as provocations.
Aside from Beijing, the South China Sea territories are claimed by a number of other countries, including Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
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