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Senior U.S. official calls S. Korea's decision on WTO status 'bold leadership'

Nov 07, 2019

Seoul (South Korea) Nov 7: A senior U.S. official on Thursday hailed South Korea's recent decision to give up its status as a developing nation at the World Trade Organization (WTO), describing it as a "bold leadership move."
Keith Krach, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and environment, made the remark during an economic forum, saying Seoul's decision to give up its special and differential status at future WTO negotiations contrasted China's resistance to do so.
"That is a bold leadership move and a noble Korean thinking. It struck a chord with me and reminded me of why Korea is such a great power," he told the forum in Seoul organized jointly by the South's foreign ministry and the U.S. State Department.
He also drew a contrast between Seoul's decision on the WTO status and China's resistance on the same matter, stressing that Beijing has not been fulfilling its responsibility as an economic power.
"A number of years ago, we encouraged China's membership in WTO and other international organizations to adopt market reforms and abide by the organizations' rules, and all too often, China never followed through," he said.
"It's critical that the U.S. and allies engage China as it is, not as we wish it were. And we have to figure out a new and unconventional way for China."
Krach came to Seoul as the head of the U.S. delegation for the Senior Economic Dialogue (SED), a high-level economic cooperation meeting that took place Wednesday.
Krach, who has been in Seoul as head of the U.S. delegation for the Senior Economic Dialogue (SED) with the South, said that Seoul is a key partner who can work together to promote global economic security in the Indo-Pacific region. He called for more participation from the private sector to meet the demand.
"Trillions of dollars are needed to satisfy the demand in the region. No government is capable of satisfying the needs but the private sector," he said.
On Wednesday, the allies agreed to forge a broader strategic economic partnership toward tangible progress for Seoul's New Southern Policy and Washington's Indo-Pacific Strategy -- signature regional policy initiatives being pushed for by their respect governments.
Source: Yonhap