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S. Korean pres. candidate eyes economic security with Japan

Seoul, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)–An official in the camp for opposition candidate Yoon Seok-youl in South Korea’s March 2022 presidential election has revealed a policy of positioning economic security as a new theme of cooperation between South Korea and Japan and among the two East Asian neighbors plus the United States.

Yoon, South Korea’s former top prosecutor, who ran in the race from the conservative main opposition People Power Party, is keen to improve relations with Japan and strengthen Seoul-Tokyo and Seoul-Tokyo-Washington cooperation.

His stance marks a stark contrast to that of Lee Jae-myung, the ruling Democratic Party of Korea’s candidate in the presidential election, who recently made comments casting doubt on whether South Korea can trust Japan as a partner country.

Cooperation with the United States is more important than with China when it comes to advanced technologies, the Yoon camp official told reporters late last month, adding that the United States places great importance on creating a new semiconductor supply chain among the country, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

It is possible to form a cooperative framework that utilizes South Korea’s strength in semiconductors and batteries, and Japan’s prowess in technologies and materials, the official said.

The official said that China tends to take Seoul lightly if three-way security cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan does not function smoothly.

Unless South Korea and Japan improve their soured diplomatic relations, it will be difficult for Seoul’s strategies over China to work effectively, the official said.

If Seoul and Tokyo continue failing to take a flexible approach, it will not be easy for them to improve their ties, the official said, noting that the Japanese side also needs to present a positive attitude.

Yoon saw his public support rate spike and far outpace that for Lee right after he was nominated the People Power Party candidate on Nov. 5 for the presidential race. His support has since stagnated, however, with recent polls pointing to a close race.

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