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S. Korea, US to unveil separate documents on extended deterrence

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : April 25, 2023 - 08:38

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President Yoon Suk Yeol's senior press secretary Kim Eun-hye (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol's senior press secretary Kim Eun-hye (Yonhap)

WASHINGTON -- An additional document detailing extended deterrence measures will be unveiled following the summit between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and US President Joe Biden on Wednesday, according to the South Korean presidential office.

Yoon's senior press secretary, Kim Eun-hye, told reporters Monday evening in Washington that the upcoming document will specify a more advanced version of the extended deterrence strategy. Extended deterrence refers to the US' commitment to mobilizing the full range of its military capabilities to defend allies against threats.

Her remarks came a day after US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that President Biden would reinforce and enhance the US extended deterrence commitments to South Korea in response to intensifying threats from North Korea.

“We will have the presidents -- the two presidents -- actually release a statement that deals with the question of extended deterrence," Sullivan said, referring in particular to the context of the evolving threat posed by the DPRK.

A senior official from the South Korean presidential office said on the condition of anonymity that the two leaders are expected to discuss the implementation of more practical and strengthened extended deterrence to ease the public concerns and anxiety caused by the advancement of North Korea's increasing nuclear arsenal and missile development.

The official, however, refrained from providing further details, as the exact wording of the final statements is still under discussion.

When asked if the two leaders would discuss Ukraine and Taiwan, the official stated that such discussion is inevitable as the main agenda of the summit includes global issues alongside North Korea and economic security.

The official mentioned that it is commonplace for leaders of any country to discuss Ukraine as a global issue at this point, but did not confirm whether arms support to Ukraine would be on the summit agenda.

A day earlier, John Kirby, NSC coordinator for strategic communications, told reporters that the United States already appreciates the assistance South Korea has provided to Ukraine and what kinds of assistance South Korea provides in the future is entirely up to the country.

"I think it's worth noting (that) the Republic of Korea has already contributed more than $200 million, I think it's like $250 million, in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. They have really stepped up. They have also been very vocal about condemning Russia's aggression and being out there in front on that, and we are very grateful for that," he told the press briefing.

"The Republic of Korea's support for Ukraine has been largely in the non-lethal category. Only President Yoon and the Korean people can decide whether they want to change that and send additional or different kinds of capability," he added.

In the evening, Yoon met with a group of roughly 200 Korean Americans residing in the US during his visit to the country.

During his opening speech at the dinner, the president shared with the attendees his goal of forging a historic and groundbreaking alliance with the United States that goes beyond the current partnership and looks towards the future.

Yoon highlighted that his state visit “serves as evidence that the US values their alliance,” which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. He also emphasized that both nations uphold universal values such as freedom, human rights and the rule of law, and are ideal partners to practice solidarity within the international community.

Yoon pledged to conduct comprehensive and pragmatic discussions with a focus on high-technologies, economic security, extended deterrence and human exchanges.