Washington, April 27 (BNA): South Korean President Yoon Sok Yul and US President Joe Biden agreed to significantly strengthen Washington’s nuclear commitment to South Korea, promising “swift, overwhelming and decisive” action in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack.
Yun announced the agreement during a joint press conference following summit talks with Biden at the White House, and outlined a joint statement dubbed the “Washington Declaration” that he adopted to strengthen “extended deterrence” against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
Extended deterrence refers to the US commitment to mobilizing all of its military capabilities, including nuclear capabilities, to defend its ally, Yonhap reports.
“South Korea and the United States agreed to hold immediate talks between their leaders in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack, through which they promised to take swift, decisive and decisive action using all military capabilities of the alliance, including US nuclear weapons,” Yoon said in the White House Rose Garden.
Yoon said the two countries agreed to set up a nuclear advisory group in order to operate the new extended deterrence system in more detail.
He said the allies will exchange information on nuclear operations, strategy and planning, and hold regular discussions on how to plan and implement joint operations that combine South Korea’s advanced conventional capabilities with US nuclear capabilities.
A presidential official later told reporters in Washington that the NCG would be chaired by deputy minister officials from the two countries. In South Korea, the deputy minister ranks third, after the minister and deputy minister.
The group will meet quarterly, four times a year, and report the results of its meetings to its superiors.
“We, the two leaders, greatly agreed to enhance both countries’ expanded deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats in order to achieve peace through overwhelming force superiority, not an imaginary peace dependent on the goodwill of the other.” Yoon said.
The two countries will develop tabletop simulation exercises to prepare for a nuclear crisis and regularly and continuously deploy US strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula, Yoon said, while the announcement said a US nuclear ballistic missile submarine will visit South Korea soon.
“Our people will effectively feel that they share nuclear weapons with the United States,” Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo later told reporters.
The leaders also agreed to continue cooperation to enhance extended deterrence, with Biden reaffirming South Korea’s “firm extended deterrence commitment,” Yoon said.
“A nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States, its allies or partners is unacceptable and will lead to the end of any regime that takes such action,” he said.
Washington’s announcement comes after months of work among the allies amid questions about the credibility of the expanded US deterrence commitment to South Korea and calls for the country’s nuclear armament as North Korea builds up its nuclear and missile capabilities.
As a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, South Korea is prohibited from developing its own nuclear weapons, while the United States maintains a longstanding policy of supporting the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
“The ROK has full confidence in America’s expanded deterrence commitments and recognizes the importance, necessity and benefit of its enduring reliance on the US nuclear deterrent,” she said, using the acronym for South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.
“President Yoon reaffirmed the ROK’s long-standing commitment to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime as well as the US-ROK Cooperation Agreement on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy,” the statement said.
Yoon is on a six-day state visit to the United States as the two countries celebrate the 70th anniversary of the bilateral alliance that emerged from the 1950-1953 Korean War.
A joint statement after the summit showed the two leaders covered a wide range of topics, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, their commitment to diplomacy with North Korea, their deep concern about climate change, and their commitment to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific. .
In particular, Yoon and Biden condemned “in the strongest possible terms” Russia’s actions against civilians and critical infrastructure in Ukraine, while stressing the importance of trilateral cooperation between the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
Biden welcomed Yoon’s “bold steps” toward improving relations between South Korea and Japan, according to the statement.
The two leaders agreed to continue close consultations on the IRA, the CHIPS Act and science to ensure they encourage mutually beneficial corporate investment in the United States amid concerns of South Korean companies.
They also agreed to establish a bilateral framework for cooperation in the field of cybersecurity to expand cooperation in deterring cyber adversaries, increasing cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, combating cybercrime, and secure cryptocurrency and blockchain applications.
To further improve the two countries’ economic security, the two leaders pledged to expand cooperation in critical and emerging technologies, including through the establishment of a Next Generation Critical and Emerging Technologies Dialogue led by the two countries’ National Security Councils.