(WASHINGTON) — The United States on Wednesday will announce steps designed to deter North Korea from launching a nuclear attack on South Korea, according to Biden administration officials.
The commitments, which the officials said will be called the “Washington Declaration,” coincide with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Washington, D.C. as U.S. President Joe Biden will host Yoon for a bilateral meeting and a state dinner at the White House on Wednesday.
The U.S. plans to “to make our deterrence more visible, through the regular deployment of strategic assets,” an official said. The steps include a visit by a U.S. nuclear ballistic submarine to South Korea for the first time in four decades; the strengthening of joint U.S.-South Korean military training and simulations; and creating a “Nuclear Consultative Group,” defined as “a regular bilateral consultation mechanism that will focus on nuclear and strategic planning issues,” according to the official.
Meanwhile, South Korea will pledge to not go nuclear, the officials said. This comes amid growing calls from the South Korean public for the country to have nuclear capabilities of its own.
In addition to commitments on nuclear deterrence, the U.S. and South Korea on Wednesday will highlight their security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region; the need for diplomacy to address North Korea’s “profoundly destabilizing” rhetoric and actions; Seoul’s improved relations with Japan; their support for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion; substantial South Korean investment in the U.S.; educational initiatives; cultural connections; and cooperation on issues regarding green technology, according to the officials.
The two countries will also announce a new student exchange program that will increase the number of Korean students coming to the U.S. and Americans studying abroad in South Korea, an official said, as well as a new volunteer initiative and an executive training program in technology for mid-career professionals.
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