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US leadership crucial for regional peace

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This letter is the 11th in the "Letters to President Biden" series aimed at conveying policy recommendations through open letters from politicians, scholars and experts to the new U.S. president following his Jan. 20 inauguration. ― ED.

By Kim Won-soo

Dear Mr. President,

First of all, I would like to convey my heartfelt congratulations to you on your election that was fought hard and won dramatically. I am sure many in the U.S. and around the world must have had sleepless nights watching the dramatic upset. It ended with an eventual sigh of relief, but with lingering mixed feelings.

A surprisingly high number of votes was cast for former President Trump. It was also deeply discouraging to see the unprecedented traumatic scenes of a riot at the U.S. Capitol. I am afraid this means you have a tough time ahead with your domestic agenda marred by political polarization and racial division.

On the other hand, we are still heartened to witness the resilience of American institutions withstanding the populist storm. Many of us in the world have confidence in your wisdom to build on this resilience and successfully steer the U.S. in the right direction. Then it would serve once again as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world.

Having said this, I would like to turn to the salient regional issues in Northeast Asia that is dear to my heart, even though you must be already familiar with most of these from your long engagement in foreign relations.

The first and foremost concern is of course the future of the U.S.-China relationship. This holds the key to how the current international order will be reshaped. Given the continuing trend of a narrowing gap in relative power of Washington and Beijing, elements of competition and friction are likely to grow in such areas as trade and technology.

Rule-based management of such elements will help prevent them from spiraling out of control. It remains to be seen whether and how the vacuum of global leadership in the Trump period will be........

© The Korea Times

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