President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in's meetings last week in Washington, D.C., will have major and long-lasting impact on the relationship between our two countries.
Following Moon's departure, the White House released the following "joint statement," which outlines the new direction for the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance in the future. Its goal is to advance the comprehensive strategic Alliance between the two countries and to deepen their friendship.
Since its founding, the Alliance has served as a linchpin for security, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, in the Asia Pacific region and increasingly around the world. As we mark the 67th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, the commitment of the United States to the ROK's defense remains ironclad. President Trump reaffirmed that the United States will defend the ROK against any attack and both presidents remain committed to jointly addressing the threat posed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Built on mutual trust and shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the United States-ROK partnership has never been stronger, and the two leaders pledged to build an even greater alliance going forward.
Strengthening the United States-ROK Alliance
The two leaders affirmed the alliance's fundamental mission to defend the ROK through a robust combined defense posture and the enhancement of mutual security based on the United States-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty. President Trump reiterated the United States commitment to provide extended deterrence to the ROK, drawing on the full range of United States military capabilities, both conventional and nuclear. Regular dialogue channels, such as the Security Consultative Meeting and the Military Committee Meeting, are instrumental in deepening our alliance. The two leaders decided to continue the alliance's work to expeditiously enable the conditions-based transfer of wartime operational control of ROK forces. The ROK will continue to acquire the critical military capabilities necessary to lead the combined defense, and detect, disrupt, destroy and defend against the DPRK's nuclear and missile threats, including through interoperable Kill-Chain, Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) and other alliance systems.
The two leaders reaffirmed the alliance's commitment to counter the growing threat to peace and security posed by the DPRK's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. To increase coordination on alliance issues, the leaders committed the foreign affairs and defense agencies of the two countries to regularize a "2+2" ministerial meeting, as well as a high-level Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group to employ all elements of national power to strengthen extended deterrence.
Maintaining Lock-Step Coordination on Our Policy Regarding the DPRK
President Trump and President Moon pledged to continue to coordinate closely to achieve our shared goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner. The two leaders called on the DPRK to refrain from provocative, destabilizing actions and rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its international obligations and commitments. The two leaders affirmed that the DPRK's nuclear tests and unprecedented number of ballistic missile tests constitute direct violations of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) and highlight the accelerating threat the DPRK's missile programs pose to international peace and security. They affirmed their commitment to fully implement existing sanctions and impose new measures designed to apply maximum pressure on the DPRK and compel Pyongyang to cease its provocative actions and return to sincere and constructive talks. The two leaders also urged all UN member states to swiftly and fully implement UNSCR obligations and took note, with appreciation, of constructive actions by some countries around the world to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on the DPRK to return to credible negotiations on denuclearization. They noted the important role China could play to this end. In addition, the two sides committed to enhance cooperation to combat the DPRK's dangerous and destabilizing malicious cyber activity.
Noting that sanctions are a tool of diplomacy, the two leaders emphasized that the door to dialogue with the DPRK remains open under the right circumstances. In reaffirming that resolution of the nuclear issue is a top priority for both countries, the two leaders emphasized that the United States and the ROK do not maintain a hostile policy toward the DPRK and, together with the rest of the international community, stand ready to offer a brighter future for the DPRK, if it chooses the right path. The two sides will closely coordinate on a joint the DPRK policy, including efforts to create conditions necessary for denuclearization talks, through a high-level strategic consultation mechanism.
President Trump supported the ROK's leading role in fostering an environment for peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders expressed deep concern about the well-being of the DPRK's people, particularly in light of the egregious human rights violations and abuses committed against them by the government, and noted their intention to ensure sanctions have minimal impact on the DPRK's vulnerable populations. President Trump expressed support for President Moon's aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues, including humanitarian affairs. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of cooperating with the international community to hold the DPRK accountable for substantial progress on the deplorable human rights situation in that country.
The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to promote regional relations and enhance United States-ROK-Japan trilateral cooperation. The two leaders affirmed that trilateral security and defense cooperation contributes to enhanced deterrence and defense against the DPRK threat. They decided to further develop this cooperation, using established bilateral and trilateral mechanisms. They also underscored the importance of leveraging the United States-ROK-Japan trilateral relationship to address global challenges such as cancer research, energy security, women's empowerment, and cybersecurity. President Trump and President Moon decided to discuss further ways to enhance trilateral cooperation together with Prime Minister Abe of Japan at the upcoming United States-ROK-Japan Trilateral Summit on the margins of the G20 in July.
Advancing Fair Trade to Promote Economic Growth
President Trump and President Moon committed to foster expanded and balanced trade while creating reciprocal benefits and fair treatment between the two countries. In that regard, the two sides further committed to fostering a truly fair and level playing field, including working together to reduce the global overcapacity of such basic materials as steel and non-tariff barriers to trade.
Both sides pledged to work together, as part of the process of the Commercial Dialogue, to promote investment, support entrepreneurs, and facilitate cooperation between the United States and the ROK to boost economic growth and job creation in both countries.
Enhancing Bilateral Cooperation on Other Economic Opportunities
Both sides also committed to work together through the Senior Economic Dialogue to promote and expand cooperation on other economic issues and to explore the enhancement of economic opportunities through a joint public-private forum. Given the roles of science, technology, and innovation in driving economic growth, the two countries will enhance cooperation in cybersecurity, information and communication technology, and civil space technology. Highlighting the important economic role women play in their societies, the two sides pledged to launch a bilateral partnership to advance women's economic empowerment.
Actively Collaborating as Global Partners
President Trump and President Moon affirmed that United States-ROK cooperation on global issues is an indispensable and expanding aspect of the Alliance. With respect to global health security collaboration, the two leaders affirmed their support in helping partner countries prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. The two leaders condemned the grave human suffering and violence in Iraq and Syria caused by ISIS, and reaffirmed the strong United States-ROK partnership in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. President Trump welcomed the ROK's commitment to increase humanitarian assistance to countries most affected by terrorism and violent extremism, including its pledge to provide 10 million United States dollars for Iraq this year. The two sides underscored the importance of joint efforts by the international community, including the United States and the ROK, to rebuild peace and stability in Afghanistan, and pledged to continue to work together to support the Afghan people and government.
Future of the Alliance
The two leaders shared the view that strong and dynamic ties between our two countries are the foundation of the United States-ROK Alliance. They decided to advance future-oriented cooperation through high-level consultations in the areas of economy and trade, renewable and nuclear energy, science and technology, space, environment, health and defense technology. President Trump and President Moon affirmed that the United States and the ROK will work together to support and uphold the rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific region. The two leaders affirmed that the strength of the United States-ROK Alliance serves as testament to the power of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and acknowledged that the future of the two countries is linked through people-to-people ties, with more than 1.7 million Korean Americans in the United States, hundreds of thousands of Americans visiting and working in the ROK each year, and close ties created through cultural programs and student and professional exchanges. President Trump and President Moon heralded the exemplary nature of the United States-ROK Alliance, from strengthening our security by deterring and defending against the DPRK threat, enhancing strong regional relations, and advancing our economic relationship and expanding our global partnership. Both leaders expressed their expectation that the friendship and partnership between the two countries will continue to strengthen and grow for many decades to come.
The White House also announced that Moon has invited the president to visit South Korea, and that invitation was "gladly accepted." A date for that visit has not yet been confirmed, but it widely expected those meetings will include continued development of this new relationship. The two leaders are likely to meet again at the upcoming G20 summit meetings.
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