US Special Representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, will begin his trip to Seoul today to meet with representatives of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s administration.
The groups are expected to begin coordination of policies in preparation of the launch of Yoon’s presidency.
The meeting comes as North Korea concludes celebration of the 110th anniversary of founder Kim Il-sung’s birthday this past Friday. The celebration of this anniversary has historically been associated with weapons tests, and rumors have swirled about possible testing of a new ICBM.
The incoming Yoon administration has emphasized its intentions to bolster its relationship with the United States and deploy more defense capacity in the form of missile-defense systems against North Korea. It is likely that Pyongyang will conduct large-scale weapons testing in the days preceding or following this meeting to protest what it views as aggressive US activity. Furthermore, expect increased defense maneuvers and capacity-building on the Korean peninsula as it adjusts to a more conservative and hawkish style of Korean relations. President Biden’s administration will also likely move to increase its military activity on the peninsula, especially since Yoon’s administration will move away from former President Moon Jae-in’s push for concessions to encourage dialogue.
Colin serves on the current developments team as a research analyst. He has previously published research on China and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Contributing regularly to the Daily Brief, Colin's areas of focus include China, climate change, and ASEAN.