Korea, US Adopt ‘Washington Declaration’ to Form Nuclear Consultative Group
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Korea, US Adopt ‘Washington Declaration’ to Form Nuclear Consultative Group
Both countries agreed to ramp up cooperation in diverse areas, including not only security and economic sectors but also advanced technology, culture and information

26(Fri), May, 2023

President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden hold a joint news conference following their summit talks at the White House Rose Garden in Washington on April 26. (Photos on the courtesy of Yonhap News Agency)

President Yoon Suk-yeol’s agreement to establish a Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) during his recent summit with U.S. President Joe Biden is evaluated to have materialized his initiative of making Korea a global key player in the field. 

The establishment of a NCG means that Korea has established an alliance with the United States to share information on the planning and executing of U.S. nuclear operations and has a say over its development. 

The United States has operated the Nuclear Planning Group with NATO member countries, but it is the first time the United States will establish an NCG with a single country. 

The declaration is a decision of “virtual nuclear sharing,” said an official with the Presidential Office. U.S. media outlets made similar evaluations. 

The New York Times reported that Korea would play a leading role in planning U.S. nuclear operations. The Wall Street Journal concluded that Korea would be given a greater say over nuclear consultations. 

President Yoon and U.S. President Biden adopted the Washington Declaration, in addition to six separate agreements at their bilateral summit in Washington on March 26. 

The declaration calls for establishing an NCG, a ranking, regular consultative body, and frequently deploying U.S. strategic assets, including nuclear submarines. 

Through the declaration, both leaders pledged to “engage in deeper, cooperative decision-making on nuclear deterrence.” 

The declaration said, “The two Presidents announced the establishment of a new Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) to strengthen extended deterrence, discuss nuclear and strategic planning, and manage the threat to the nonproliferation regime posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).”

“The Alliance will work to enable joint execution and planning for ROK conventional support to U.S. nuclear operations in a contingency and improve combined exercises and training activities on the application of nuclear deterrence on the Korean Peninsula.” 

“The ROK has full confidence in U.S. extended deterrence commitments and recognizes the importance, necessity, and benefit of its enduring reliance on the U.S. nuclear deterrent.”

“The United States commits to make every effort to consult with the ROK on any possible nuclear weapons employment on the Korean Peninsula, consistent with the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review’s declaratory policy, and the Alliance will maintain robust communication infrastructure to facilitate these consultations.”

“President Yoon reaffirmed the ROK’s longstanding commitment to its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as the cornerstone of the global nonproliferation regime as well as to the U.S.-ROK Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.”

Through the declaration, both presidents sent a firm message to the international community by jointly standing against all threats to their respective countries’ common national security.

 “President Yoon affirmed that the ROK will apply the full range of its capabilities to the Alliance’s combined defense posture. This includes working in lockstep with the United States to closely connect the capabilities and planning activities of the new ROK Strategic Command and the U.S.-ROK Combined Forces Command,” it added.

 “President Biden reaffirmed that the United States’ commitment to the ROK and the Korean people is enduring and ironclad, and that any nuclear attack by the DPRK against the ROK will be met with a swift, overwhelming and decisive response.” 

As for the economic sector, relationships between governments and companies for both countries have evolved. 

In the past, the United States had demanded Korea’s opening of markets, while Korea had asked for support from the United States whenever the Korean economy was faced with a bad situation. 

Korean companies and their U.S. counterparts have evolved to reach an inseparable level, so they now collaborate on an equal footing.

President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden hold their summit talks at the White House in Washington on April 26.

Korea-U.S. Alliance Expands to Technology, Culture and Information Sectors 

The Korea-U.S. Business Roundtable became the subject of attention from U.S. business circles since about 10 U.S. companies were excluded due to no vacancies. 

Both countries agreed to ramp up cooperation in diverse areas, including not only the security and economic sectors but also advanced technology, culture and information. 

President Yoon’s state visit to the United States has been evaluated to evolve the Korean-U.S. alliance a step higher.

Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy chief of the Office of National Security said, “Korea-U.S. alliance has built five pillars: security, economy, technology, culture and information alliance on the cornerstone of value alliance.” 

Korea and the United States will expand cooperation in the five sectors, showing synergetic effects and making the Korea-U.S. alliance move forward for the future, he said. 

A core part of the technology alliance is the establishment of a next-generation core/new technology discussion panel, an advanced technology cooperation control tower, to be headed by ranking officials of both countries. 

The chief of Korea’s Office of National Security and its U.S. counterpart will participate in the panel, in which both countries will cooperate on core future technology areas, such as bio, battery/energy, semiconductor, digital economy, and quantum information. 

Government, industry, and university circles of both nations will join forces in joint efforts to elevate their technology levels. 

The panel is to be convened once each year, starting the second half of this year. 

Both countries plan to ramp up cooperation in the quantum technology sector. Cooperation in the sector was included in the joint statement of the Korea-U.S. summit. They agreed to continue omni-directional cooperation in the space area. 

The Ministry of Science and Technology and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed to join forces in several space exploration areas, such as the construction of a moon station and a global positioning system. 

Korea and the United States shared the view that they will expand human exchanges and cultural content cooperation as part of efforts to ramp up their culture alliance.

Both countries agreed to flesh out a cooperative regime on an information alliance, too. 

The National Security Councils of both countries will establish a “strategic cyber security cooperation framework” to respond to cyber threats and dangers. It is designed to join forces in restraining opponent forces in cyber space. 

They agreed to expand the scope of the Mutual Defense Treaty of the Republic of Korea and the United States to space and cyber space.
Korea and the United States also agreed to continue discussion to ease Korean companies’ worry over the Inflation Reduction Act and the act on supporting the semiconductor sector during their summit. 

In a related development, President Yoon met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the Blair House in Washington DC following the Korean-U.S. summit. President Yoon asked for CEO Musk to build Tesla’s Gigafactory in Korea. 

President Yoon Suk-yeol receives a guitar, autographed by Don Mclean, a U.S. singer-songwriter and guitarist, as a gift from U.S. President Joe Biden at a state dinner at the White House on April 26. 

President Yoon: Korea to be ‘Compass for Freedom’ with US

President Yoon on April 27 said, “Together with the U.S., Korea will play the role as a ‘compass for freedom.’ It will safeguard and broaden the freedom of citizens of the world.” 

In his speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress at Capitol Hill in Washington, he said, “Korea, with the U.S., will march toward the future.”

Titled “Alliance of Freedom, Alliance in Action,” the president gave a 44-minute address in English. He was the first Korean head of state to speak to Congress in 10 years since Park Geun-hye in May 2013.

President Yoon began his speech by saying, “I stand before that nation with the conviction of freedom, belief in the Alliance, and resolve to open a new future.”

“Our Alliance was forged 70 years ago to defend Korea’s freedom. The Alliance has now become a global alliance that safeguards freedom and peace around the world. Korea will fulfill its responsibilities. It will play its part that matches its economic capacity.”

President Yoon, US VP Harris Pledge to ‘Boost Space Alliance’

President Yoon visited NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in the Washington suburb of Greenbelt, Maryland, accompanied by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, on April 25. 

On the same day, the Ministry of Science and ICT and NASA signed a joint communique on cooperation in space exploration and science.

According to the statement, the two countries agreed to find and pursue joint projects in lunar and space exploration and the global positioning system. 

The Korea Aerospace Administration (KASA), the forthcoming Korean equivalent of NASA to be set up by Seoul, will lead the implementation of joint tasks in the project. 

KASA will also look for ways to expand Korea’s participation in the U.S.-led Artemis program involving manned and robotic lunar exploration. 

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