Yoon heads to Washington for NATO summit

By Park Ung Posted : July 8, 2024, 17:51 Updated : July 9, 2024, 23:04
President Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife Kim Keon Hee wave at a military airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province on July 8, 2024. Yonhap
SEOUL, July 8 (AJU PRESS) - President Yoon Suk Yeol left for the U.S. on Monday to attend a NATO summit in Washington. He was invited to the summit for the third consecutive year as Korea was included as one of four Indo Pacific partners, dubbed IP4, along with Australia, Japan and News Zealand.

Yoon's itinerary begins with a stopover in Hawaii, where he is scheduled to visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and the United States Indo-Pacific Command.

Upon arrival in Washington on Wednesday, Yoon is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with heads of state from at least 10 countries including the leaders of the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, and Sweden on the sidelines of the summit. He will also meet with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and attend a dinner hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.

Yoon's visit comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula following Vladimir Putin's recent trip to Pyongyang. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Putin who sealed his fifth term as the longest-serving Kremlin leader in March signed a military pact last month. The pact vows to provide mutual assistance in case of aggression against either country, raising concerns that the two countries could further deepen their military cooperation. During the summit, Yoon is expected to address security concerns in the Korean Peninsula and seek support from NATO leaders.

Meanwhile, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Sunday that members of the IP4 are arranging the first summit with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, quoting Japanese government officials. They are expected to pledge support for the war-stricken country.

"We will reaffirm our commitment to supporting the restoration of freedom and peace in Ukraine, send a stern message over military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, and discuss ways to cooperate among NATO allies and IP4 partner countries to respond to these issues," said presidential advisor Kim Tae-hyo.

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