South Korea’s largest newspaper Chosun recently reported, in its Chinese Edition, that Hong Nam-Ki, South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister of Economy and Minister of Planning and Finance, said at the 6th Foreign Economic Security Strategy Conference that the discussions on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) will be more concrete and accelerated (than previously). South Korea is positioned to move toward an active and engaged direction. IPEF is an economic alliance that the the United States is building along with allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region to reduce its dependence on China in the fields of the global supply chain, infrastructure, the digital economy, and renewable energy. Hong Nam-Ki’s remarks may actually mean South Korea has decided to join the IPEF. Regarding CPTPP (The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), which does not include the United States, considering that most of the member countries are agriculturally developed countries, it is expected to cause a considerable blow to South Korea’s agriculture. Thus the South Korean government is formulating corresponding support plans. With the recent expansion of Covid-19’s spread in China, major cities such as Shanghai have been closed down and there has been a major supply chain impact from China. Hong Nam-Ki expressed that he was worried about the related impact on production lines in South Korea and he suggested to improve the country’s preparedness for the need to respond.
Source: Chosun, April 17, 2022