“Squid Game” diplomacy
When US President Joe Biden hosts South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol at the White House on Wednesday, the two leaders will have a lot to talk about.
Biden hopes to reassure Yoon that America would defend South Korea from a North Korean nuclear attack amid rumblings that Seoul wants its own nukes because it fears the US might not respond fast enough if Kim Jong Un pushes the red button. For his part, Yoon needs something from Biden that he can sell as a win back home, where Yoon's approval rating has tanked following the Pentagon leak that suggested the US was snooping on its ally.
Biden agreeing to ease US export controls on South Korean firms or IRA tax credits for South Korean-made electric vehicles would do the trick. But that's about as likely as Seoul doing what Biden wants: supplying weapons to Ukraine.So far, what Yoon is getting from his almost week-long state visit is a windfall of investments by US companies in South Korea, starting with $2.5 billion from Netflix. The streaming giant is bullish on America’s appetite for South Korean pop culture, which in recent years has turned the nation into a global soft-power heavyweight.