UNITED STATES: In her recent statements, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that the US and South Korea should initiate efforts to strengthen trade relations between the two and prevent other nations from emerging as invincible kingpins of their market positions, specifically hinting at China.
“We cannot allow countries like China to use their market position in key raw materials, technologies, or products to disrupt our economy or exercise unwanted geopolitical leverage,” Yellen mentioned at an LG Group-run research and development complex in Seoul, AP has reported.
In a Twitter post, Yellen noted addressing the event, “Deepening economic ties with partners like the Republic of South Korea has been a priority of my Indo-Pacific visit. At LG Science park, I’m addressing the importance of building resilient supply chains to ease inflationary pressures and lower consumer costs.”
In April this year, LG, one of South Korea’s biggest commercial conglomerates, revealed their collaborative plans with the US to build a battery plant worth $1.4 billion in Queen Creek, Arizona.
Reports also revealed that Yellen visited Tokyo and Seoul, along with Indonesia, where she represented the US at the G20 Finance Minister meetings. Earlier in July, she also shared a telephonic conversation with the Chinese vice premier over concerns and terms of trade. Yellen has also been openly critical of China’s economic ties with Russia and urged the Asian superpower to utilise its “Special relationship with Moscow” to persuade Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine.
To urge economies to curb any one nation’s stronghold in essential raw materials or technology, Yellen highlighted China’s ambitious efforts to use resources to “Seek a dominant position in the manufacturing of certain advanced technologies, including semiconductors while employing a range of unfair trade practices to achieve this position.” To reduce the risk of trade monopoly, Yellen suggested “friend-shoring” which refers to combined trade deals between two countries that promote manufacturing and lower supply risk.
Yellen is set to meet important South Korean leaders, like President Yoon Seok-youl later on Tuesday during her first visit to the Indo-Pacific region. Earlier on July 11, a US State Department adviser visited South Korea and held deliberations with the country’s officials regarding bilateral ties and other political issues, including the North Korean threat.