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Full text of joint communique of ROK-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- The following is the full text of the joint communique issued after the 43rd South Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul Friday.

1. The 43rd Republic of Korea-United States Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) was held in Seoul on October 28, 2011. ROK Minister of National Defense Kim, Kwan Jin and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta led their respective delegations, which included senior defense and foreign affairs officials. Before the SCM, the ROK Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Jung, Seung Jo and the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, presided over the 35th ROK-U.S. Military Committee Meeting (MCM) on October 27, 2011.

2. The Minister and the Secretary reaffirmed the commitment of the ROK and U.S. Presidents to build a comprehensive strategic Alliance of bilateral, regional, and global scope, based on common values and mutual trust, as set forth in the June 2009 Joint Vision for the Alliance of the ROK and the United States, and reiterated in the ROK-U.S. Summit on 13 October, 2011. They also reaffirmed their shared view that the scope and level of Alliance cooperation should continue to broaden and deepen, including reinforcement of the combined defense posture on the Korean Peninsula and the expansion of the Alliance's strategic contributions for regional and global security in the 21st century, based on the ROK-U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines signed at the 42nd SCM last October.

3. The Minister and the Secretary reiterated the firm view of the ROK and the United States that the North Korean nuclear situation constitutes a serious threat to world peace as well as to security on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. The Minister and the Secretary also underscored that North Korea’s uranium enrichment program (UEP), revealed last November, poses a grave threat as this program allows North Korea a second path to nuclear weapons development and increases the potential for onward proliferation of fissile material and sensitive technologies to other parties. The Minister and the Secretary confirmed that North Korea's nuclear activities, including UEP, are violations of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 and contrary to North Korea’s commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement.  They also reaffirmed that North Korea should immediately cease all activities related to its nuclear programs. The Minister and the Secretary urged North Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, including UEP, in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible way and to renounce its pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Furthermore, they called on North Korea to demonstrate its genuine will toward denuclearization through concrete actions. The Minister and the Secretary also reaffirmed that the ROK and United States would continue to cooperate closely on the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 as well as bilateral sanctions against North Korea.

4. Under the unpredictable security environment since the sinking of the Republic of Korea ship CHEONAN and the artillery shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, both the Minister and the Secretary reaffirmed the need to conduct combined exercises on the Peninsula to demonstrate Alliance readiness. They perceived the increase of asymmetric military threats, such as North Korean nuclear weapons and ballistic missile developments, as a serious threat to global peace as well as the security of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. They reaffirmed that any North Korean aggression or provocation is not to be tolerated and that the ROK and the United States will work shoulder to shoulder to demonstrate our combined resolve. Both the Minister and the Secretary reaffirmed their commitment to further develop the Alliance’s deterrent capability for the defense of the Korean Peninsula, led by the ROK and supported by the United States, as outlined in the June 2009 ROK-U.S. Joint Vision for the Alliance. Against this backdrop, they agreed to establish the ‘Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD),’ a senior level policy consultative channel co-chaired by the ROK Deputy Minister of National Defense for Policy and the U.S.
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, as an umbrella framework that encompasses various defense dialogue mechanisms between the ROK and the United States to ensure high-level political oversight and synchronization of Alliance objectives.

5. The Minister and the Secretary also thought highly of the development of the ROK-U.S. Counter-Provocation Plan, which prepares for potential provocations by North Korea. Through this plan, both the Minister and the Secretary reaffirmed the need to advance the military deterrence capabilities of the Alliance in a more practical and concrete manner and also to improve response readiness in the event of a North Korean provocation. Moreover, they decided to increase the combined watch activities on the North Korea situation in order to ensure the success of the Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Seoul next March. The Minister and the Secretary reaffirmed that continued close bilateral planning for various scenarios, as well as extensive combined training and exercises, were critical to adequately prepare for future challenges on the Peninsula. Also they have decided to advance their combined readiness capabilities in the Northwest Islands and areas near the Northern Limit Line. Both the Minister and the Secretary urged the North to accept the practical value of, and abide by, the Northern Limit Line, which has been an effective means of separating ROK and North Korean military forces and preventing military tension for 58 years. Additionally, the Minister and the Secretary reaffirmed that the Armistice Agreement and the United Nations Command remain crucial instruments in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

6. The Minister and the Secretary reaffirmed the two nations’
mutual commitment to the fundamental mission of the Alliance to defend the Republic of Korea through a robust combined defense posture, as well as to the enhancement of mutual security based on the Mutual Defense Treaty. They also reaffirmed that the ROK-U.S.
Alliance remains vital to the future interests of both nations in securing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, and stressed their determination to ensure sufficient capabilities of the combined forces for the security of the Republic of Korea. Secretary of Defense Panetta reiterated the firm and unwavering U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK using both capabilities postured on the Korean Peninsula and globally available U.S. forces and capabilities that can be deployed to augment the combined defense in the case of a crisis. He also reiterated the commitment to maintain the current U.S. troop level in Korea.

7. Secretary of Defense Panetta reaffirmed the continued U.S.
commitment to provide and strengthen extended deterrence for the ROK, using the full range of capabilities, including the U.S.
nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense capabilities. Moreover, the Minister and the Secretary decided to further develop the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee (EDPC), already held twice this year, which serves as a cooperation mechanism to enhance the effectiveness of extended deterrence. To this end, the Minister and the Secretary endorsed the ‘EDPC Multi-year Work Plan,’ and decided to develop a tailored bilateral deterrence strategy including future activities, such as the ROK-U.S. Extended Deterrence Table Top Exercise (TTX), to enhance effective deterrence options against the nuclear and WMD threats from North Korea.

8. The Minister and the Secretary pledged that the ROK and the United States would continue to enhance close Alliance cooperation to address wide-ranging global security challenges of mutual interest, including through peacekeeping activities, stabilization and reconstruction efforts, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. Secretary Panetta expressed appreciation for the ROK's past contribution in Iraq as well as the contribution that the ROK is making in Afghanistan through the deployment of its Provincial Reconstruction Team since 2010 and financial support of 500 million U.S. dollars over 5 years from 2011. The Secretary also praised the ROK's contribution to Haiti disaster relief operations, anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, and the UN mission in Lebanon. In addition, he expressed appreciation for the ROK government's continued active participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

9. The Minister and the Secretary affirmed the need to strengthen cooperation with respect to protection of, and access to, the space and cyberspace domains, and to promote the resilience of critical infrastructure, including the security of information and space systems. The Minister and the Secretary committed themselves to discuss new ways for the ROK and the United States to confront the challenges posed by increasing threats in cyberspace and welcomed the establishment of a bilateral strategic policy dialogue on cyber-security issues. They also acknowledged that effective bilateral cooperation on cyber-security would require a “whole-of-government” approach and coordination with the private sector.

10. The Minister and the Secretary received a report from the Commander of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC), General Thurman, on the results of the ROK-U.S. Military Committee Meeting, which highlighted that the combined defense posture is capable and ready to “Fight Tonight,” and that it is prepared to effectively respond to any provocation, instability, or aggression.

11. The Minister and the Secretary received a report on the results of the ROK-U.S. Security Policy Initiative (SPI) meetings over the past year. They expressed satisfaction that, through close consultations, the two countries are making significant progress on important issues, including: ensuring an effective combined defense, developing a joint counter-provocation plan, enhancing contributions to regional and global security, proceeding with the implementation of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) relocation and camp returns, and articulating a shared future vision for the Alliance.
The Minister and the Secretary pledged to continue SPI consultations in 2012, based on the significant accomplishments of the past seven years and the mutual desire to continue to enhance the ROK-U.S. Alliance.

12. The Minister and the Secretary acknowledged their comprehensive strategy to strengthen the Alliance in years to come, including achieving the transition of wartime operational control
(OPCON) to the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2015. The transition of OPCON should sustain and enhance the Alliance's combined defense posture and capabilities, and support both the Alliance's bilateral defense priorities and its future development. The Minister and the Secretary reaffirmed their intent for the transition to occur in December 2015. They also reaffirmed that the implementation of the Strategic Alliance 2015 plan is to be regularly assessed and reviewed at the annual SCM/MCM, paying particular attention to evolving North Korean threats, and is to be reflected in the transition process. In this regard, they further noted the importance of the OPCON Certification Plan in ensuring that the transition is implemented methodically to validate that the combined defense posture remains strong and seamless. The Secretary reaffirmed that the U.S. is determined to provide specific and significant bridging capabilities until the ROK obtains full self-defense capabilities, and further noted the U.S. commitment to contribute enduring capabilities for the life of the Alliance.

13. The Minister and the Secretary acknowledged the progress on USFK base relocation and camp returns. They committed to work closely together to successfully complete base relocation and camp returns, noting that the efficient and effective completion of these cooperative joint efforts is in the best interest of both nations. The Minister and the Secretary pledged to minimize challenges and to pursue, as planned, the Yongsan Relocation Plan
(YRP) and Land Partnership Plan (LPP). They also concurred that the Joint Environmental Assessment Procedure (JEAP) is useful in facilitating bilateral cooperation for camp returns.

14. The Minister and the Secretary noted that the two militaries have made substantial progress in the development of military preparation plans related to a range of situations on the Korean Peninsula and that these military plans are to further ensure an effective Alliance response to potential crisis.

15. Secretary of Defense Panetta expressed sincere appreciation to Minister of National Defense Kim for the courtesy and hospitality extended to him and his delegation by the Government of the Republic of Korea, and for the excellent arrangements that contributed to the success of the meeting. The Minister and the Secretary affirmed that the discussions during the 43rd SCM and 35th MCM contributed substantively to strengthening the ROK-U.S.
Alliance and further enhanced the development of the bilateral defense relationship into a comprehensive strategic Alliance. Both sides expect to hold the 44th SCM in Washington D.C. at a mutually convenient time in 2012.

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