Hankyoreh
June 28, 2022

Yoon leaves for first trip overseas, first NATO summit, first foray into multilateral diplomacy

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol headed to Madrid on Monday in order to attend the NATO summit scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday….

***

Yoon is the first South Korean president to attend a summit of NATO, one of the most well-known military alliances of the West. During his trip of five days and three nights, Yoon will be participating in a total of 14 diplomatic engagements, including the South Korea-US-Japan summit scheduled for Wednesday and the summit among NATO member states and partners. Through his activities, he plans to strengthen South Korea’s relationship with European nations, who are major trade partners for South Korea, and rally interest in and support for the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The upcoming NATO summit has been of special interest due to the fact that it’s occurring amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the hegemonic conflict between the US and China. During the summit, NATO will be adopting a new “strategic concept,” which will include considerations about how to respond to China, suggesting that South Korea’s diplomacy will be put to the test amidst the new Cold War between the US and China.

…Yoon will be meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and attend a dinner gala hosted by Spain’s King Felipe VI with Kim Keon-hee.

***

As all state leaders participating in the NATO summit will be attending Tuesday’s gala dinner, there’s a chance Yoon may have his first encounter with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida there.