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ROK leader expresses interest in joining TPP

Nikkei wrote that South Korean President Moon Jae-in said during an annual Trade Day address on Tuesday that he will consider joining the TPP. South Korean media say this was the first time for Moon to mention the possibility of joining the accord. South Korea considered becoming a TPP member in 2013 but concluded a free trade agreement with China in 2014 and joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in 2015 because then-President Park Geun-hye prioritized strengthening ties with Beijing. Noting that South Korea’s joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, in which China exerts strong influence, added to the impression that Seoul is taking a pro-Beijing stance on the trade front, the paper speculated that Moon is trying to strike a diplomatic balance between the United States and China by showing interest in other large-scale free trade deals such as the TPP.

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