South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and US President Joe Biden ended their four-day schedule with a visit to the Korea Air and Space Operations Center (KAOC) located at Osan Air Base on Sunday. The two leaders resolved to elevate the relationship between the Republic of Korea and the United States into a “comprehensive comprehensive strategic alliance” based on values ​​shared by the two countries, from responses to North Korea to economic security and technology and global issues. The two men will meet again via conference call at an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) summit meeting to be launched in Japan on Monday.

The two leaders agreed to expand the geological reach of the ROK-US alliance from the Korean Peninsula to the world and develop it to be at the center of not only military security, but also economic and technological security. and global issues. It is a break with the Moon Jae-in administration’s focus on Korean Peninsula issues, such as North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and the administration’s abdication of leadership. Donald Trump within the international community, as well as a fundamental redefinition of the alliance.

In particular, Presidents Yoon and Biden have placed the core of the alliance on universal values, such as free democracy and human rights. President Yoon mentioned freedom dozens of times in his inaugural speech and President Biden called for solidarity from democratic countries against authoritarian dictatorship. The two got along well based on similar ideas. President Biden said that a vibrant democracy drives global innovations and President Yoon responded by saying that the high tech industry is impossible without the free democratic system.

The joint statement made by the two contained agendas based on these values. South Korea has agreed to join the United States in endorsing the Declaration for the Future of the Internet against digital authoritarianism. The country has also expressed its willingness to host the Biden-led Democracy Summit. These are all issues that the previous administration refused to join or remained passive because of its relationship with China. South Korean diplomacy, which focused on an awkward balance, has clearly turned to the liberal side.

The military and security commitments of both countries have been further strengthened. The summit meeting took place amid North Korea’s completion of preparations to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles and conduct nuclear tests. A plan B of South Korean and American leaders entering a Unified Command bunker in the event of an emergency has been put in place. Reflecting such political circumstances, the joint statement included practical measures, such as the reactivation of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG), the expansion of joint exercises and the timely deployment of strategic assets.

The basis of an alliance is the sharing of values ​​and interests. A values-based alliance and an interests-based alliance are two sides of the same coin. Moreover, an alliance is a pact to fight together against potential threats. South Korea should deal with crises, such as supply chain disruptions, by strengthening channels between South Korea and the United States, including the new “economic security dialogue”, while demonstrating the diplomatic capabilities based on national interests and pragmatism to build an inclusive trading order by actively participating in the IPEF from the start.