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South Korea seeks to attend Quad summit as observer 

Nikkei wrote that it has learned from a senior government official of one of the Quad members that South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has unofficially asked about the possibility of participating in the upcoming Quad summit to be held in Japan in late May as an observer in the hope of strengthening his nation’s ties with the United States and Japan. Yoon will take office on May 10. If his attendance in the Quad summit is realized, he will be the first South Korean leader to participate in a Quad gathering. Yoon is also considering holding separate bilateral and trilateral talks with President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida on the sidelines of the summit. The paper speculated that Yoon is hoping to rebuild South Korea-Japan relations, which deteriorated under outgoing President Moon Jae-in, as Washington has been calling for improvement in their ties. The paper also wrote that it might not be possible for Yoon to attend the Quad summit so soon after his inauguration and that if President Biden chooses to visit South Korea before or after Japan, Yoon may prioritize holding bilateral talks with the U.S. leader there over participating in the Quad gathering. The paper conjectured that as the Quad leaders are planning to discuss cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the response to Russia and to demonstrate their solidarity at the summit, South Korea’s participation in the meeting would increase the group’s weight in the global community.  

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