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Mr Biden spoke to South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week about the countries’ commitments while they are both in office. The US president-elect said Washington will “firmly maintain our defence commitment to South Korea and cooperate closely to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue”.
Mr Biden praised South Korea as the region’s “lynchpin of security and prosperity,” according to South Korea’s presidential office.
His efforts to establish friendly ties with Mr Moon would counter outgoing President Donald Trump’s current relationship with the South Korean president.
Go Myong-hyun of Seoul’s Asan Institute told DW said: “On a personal level, there’s not much love lost between Moon and Trump.”
Dr Go explained that Mr Trump’s demands for South Korea to pay more to host US troops had put pressure on the US-South Korea relationship.
South Korea is currently hosting 30,000 US soldiers.
The financial maintenance of the US troops is shared between the two countries with an accord reached every five years.
Mr Trump wanted a five-fold raise to $5billion per year with an annual renegotiation.
He warned he would pull out US troops if the increase was not agreed upon.
Mr Biden countered Mr Trump’s threatening stance and told South Korea’s Yonhap News last month that he would “stand with South Korea, strengthen our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extort Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops.”
Despite the US’ potential to strengthen ties with South Korea, Beijing experts on the other hand raised concerns over a potential candidate for Joe Biden’s Pentagon chief appointment.
The experts pointed out belligerent remarks that the US should be able to “sink all” Chinese ships within 72 hours to boost deterrence in the South China Sea.
Michele Flournoy, a former under-secretary of defence in the Obama administration, has been discussed as a potential Defence Secretary for Mr Biden.
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Earlier this year, Ms Flournoy wrote in the journal Foreign Affairs suggesting an increased in US naval positions in the South China Sea.
She warned the US was losing the ability to face China in the disputed territory.
Ms Flournoy said the US should bolster its naval numbers in the South China Sea to counter a “miscalculation” of weakness.
She said: “For example, if the US military had the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours, Chinese leaders might think twice before, say, launching a blockade or invasion of Taiwan; they would have to wonder whether it was worth putting their entire fleet at risk.”
Ms Flournoy highlighted the need for new, unmanned devices ran by artificial intelligence.
She also suggested cyber and missile defence would be key for the development of the US naval force in the region.
Ms Flournoy said the US had over invested in “legacy platforms and weapons systems”.
She added: “To re-establish credible deterrence of China, the United States must be able to prevent the success of any act of military aggression by Beijing, either by denying the PLA’s ability to achieve its aims or by imposing costs so great that Chinese leaders ultimately decide that the act is not in their interest.”
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