South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to receive an invitation to address Congress when he visits Washington in April as American hawks are looking to strengthen the alliance with Seoul to work against North Korea and China, Nikkei Asia reported Monday.
President Biden is scheduled to host Yoon for a state visit and a dinner on April 26. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) told Nikkei that the plan is for Yoon to address a joint session of Congress during the visit.
Kim said she and several other members of Congress, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), have sent a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urging him to invite Yoon to make the address.
Kim, who chairs the Indo-Pacific subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said she was “optimistic” about the matter and that she thought it was ” just a matter of time” before McCarthy extends the invitation. According to South Korean media, Yoon has requested to address Congress.
Yoon came into office in May 2022 vowing to take a harder line on North Korea than his predecessor, Moon Jae-in. Now, tensions on the Korean peninsula have skyrocketed as the US and South Korea have resumed massive war games after a five-year break, and Pyongyang launched a record number of missiles in 2022.
Hawks in Congress prefer Yoon’s approach to the North rather than Moon’s efforts to ease tensions. A congressional source told Nikkei they weren’t happy about Moon’s push for a formal declaration to end the Korean War. “It was seen as a unilateral concession to a tyrannical regime,” the source said.