Main opposition party to send delegation to U.S. to discuss vaccine cooperation

SEOUL– The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) plans to send a delegation to the United States this week to discuss bilateral cooperation related to COVID-19 vaccines, party officials said Tuesday.

PPP Rep. Park Jin and Rep. Choi Hyung-du will travel to the U.S. on Wednesday to meet with Washington officials, legislature representatives and think tank figures to explore means of cooperation regarding coronavirus vaccines, including the possibility of a South Korea-U.S. vaccine swap arrangement, according to Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, the party’s floor leader.

The trip was arranged as South Korea has called for the U.S. to help address Seoul’s shortage of new coronavirus vaccines. Officials in Seoul said they were seeking a vaccine swap deal with the U.S.

The delegation also plans to discuss with U.S. officials the possibility of South Korea potentially joining the U.S.-led Quad forum, according to Kim.

The forum refers to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group, which involves Japan, Australia and India, and is widely viewed as a counterbalance to China’s growing influence.

According to Kim, the PPP has organized its own independent delegation as the government and the ruling Democratic Party have not responded to a proposal to send a bipartisan delegation to the U.S.

Park said the delegation will carry out a non-partisan diplomacy mission to secure vaccines for South Korea by mobilizing the party’s various connections and networks in the U.S.

“As the opposition party, we will also make supporting efforts to ensure a successful summit,” Park added, referring to a scheduled summit between President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, later this month in Washington.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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