WASHINGTON- President Joe Biden will announce on Wednesday that it is increasing displays of military might in the Indo-Pacific and expanding collaboration with South Korea in hopes of deterring a North Korean attack.
In return, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will reaffirm his nation’s commitment not to develop its own nuclear weapons, according to a senior administration official who anticipated the announcement on condition of anonymity.
The joint announcement is expected to be a centerpiece of new initiatives on cybersecurity, economic investments and more that leaders will implement over the course of Yoon’s state visit marks the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the two nations.
“We believe that such a statement will send a very clear and demonstrable signal of the credibility of the United States as it relates to its extended deterrence commitments to the Republic of Korea and the Korean people,” the national security adviser for the ROK said Monday. White House, Jake Sullivan. .
Biden greeted Yoon and Kim Keon Hee, first lady of the Republic of Korea, on the South Lawn of the White House during an arrival ceremony Wednesday morning that honored Korean War veterans as military bands played the hymns of both nations.
“Today we celebrate the strong alliance, the shared vision of our future, and the deep friendship that unites the Republic of Korea and the United States,” Biden said.
Yoon, speaking through an English translator, said the US-South Korea alliance “is not a transactional relationship” based on self-interest, but “an alliance of values, united to safeguard the universal value of freedom.” ”.
Stay in the political conversation: Subscribe to the OnPolitics newsletter
‘Let’s finish the job’: President Joe Biden announces long-awaited 2024 re-election bid
South Korea benefits from the protection of the US “nuclear umbrella,” the main deterrent against North Korean attacks. But North Korea’s aggressive missile tests and lack of interest in denuclearization talks have raised concerns in South Korea that more needs to be done.
The creation of a joint consultative group is aimed at increasing the confidence in the US not only of Seoul but also of the South Korean people. The South Korean government will receive more information on US military planning and will have a say in those deliberations, according to a senior administration official. But the United States will retain sole authority over when nuclear weapons are used.
The United States will also increase public displays of force, such as sending a ballistic missile submarine on visits to South Korea for the first time since the 1980s.
Yoon took office last year after a closely contested election in which he vowed to bolster South Korea’s defenses against North Korea.
Second state visit: This is only the second state visit Biden has made. The first was last fall’s summit with French President Emmanuel Macron. The last state visit to South Korea was organized by President Barack Obama in 2011.
Because right now: The two nations celebrate the 70th anniversary of their alliance. In addition, the US has been trying to strengthen its relations in Asia as a counterbalance to China’s growing economic and military power. During his visit to South Korea last May, Biden said that “reinvigorating” the alliance between nations was one of his “key foreign policy priorities.”
Schedule: In addition to their private meetings on Wednesday, Biden and Yoon will address the media and attend a state dinner, a diplomatic honor reserved for America’s closest allies. Yoon will address a joint meeting of the House and Senate on Thursday. While in the United States, Yoon also has trips to NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and meets with the CEOs of entertainment companies like Disney, Netflix, and Sony Pictures.
Economic Collaboration and Conflict: The Biden administration has touted South Korea’s multi-billion dollar economic investments in the US, including in electric vehicle manufacturing, one of the ways the administration wants to strengthen supply chains and create jobs . But South Korea is being considered on how US restrictions on technology exports to China will affect South Korean companies that make semiconductors there.
Pentagon leak complicates state visit
The state visit was complicated by the leak of classified documents that included evidence that the United States has been spying on its allies. It was an embarrassment to the Biden administration and caused Yoon political headaches at home, so it’s all the more important that Yoon can show she’s getting something from the top. That could include announcements about increased economic cooperation or more efforts to deter North Korean belligerence.
‘Shameful Key’: How the Pentagon leak complicates the South Korean president’s state visit with Biden
Ukraine is likely to be discussed
The leaked intelligence indicates that Yoon’s top advisers were concerned that munitions that South Korea agreed to sell to the US to replenish its stockpiles would end up in Ukraine. South Korea does not send lethal weapons to countries at war, but the trove of documents — which US officials have neither verified nor disavowed — suggests the Yoon government was considering a change in policy.
Yoon told Reuters last week that it would be difficult for South Korea to stay out of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “if there is a situation that the international community cannot tolerate, such as a large-scale attack on civilians, a massacre or a rape.” grave of the laws of war.”
It’s too early to tell if South Korea is ready to expand support beyond humanitarian assistance, said Ellen Kim, an expert on US-Korea relations at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But given the increased cooperation between Russia and North Korea, South Korea is finding it “increasingly difficult to avoid being trapped in Ukraine,” she Kim said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden’s visit to South Korean president focuses on nuclear deterrence