The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Korea.
In line with the decision by President Joseph R. Biden and President Yoon Suk Yeol in May, the foreign affairs and defense agencies of the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) held an Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) meeting at the Under Secretary / Vice Minister level on September 16, 2022 in Washington D.C. ROK First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Cho Hyundong and ROK Vice Minister of National Defense Shin Beomchul led the ROK delegation. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Bonnie Jenkins and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl led the U.S. delegation.
This is the third meeting of the high-level EDSCG, which provides a forum for comprehensive discussions on strategy and policy issues to strengthen Alliance deterrence on the Korean Peninsula and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The September 16 dialogue highlighted the commitment by both partners to use all available levers—including diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools—to strengthen and reinforce the U.S. security commitment to the ROK and strengthen deterrence against DPRK aggression, and more broadly counter the DPRK threat.
The United States and the ROK expressed their serious concern over the DPRK’s escalatory and destabilizing messaging related to nuclear weapons use, including its adoption of the new nuclear policy law. The two sides committed to continue efforts to employ all elements of both countries’ national power to strengthen the Alliance deterrence posture. The United States reiterated its ironclad and unwavering commitment to draw on the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, conventional, missile defense, and other advanced non-nuclear capabilities, to provide extended deterrence for the ROK. The United States and the ROK made clear that any DPRK nuclear attack would be met with an overwhelming and decisive response. Both sides also confirmed their will to continue and strengthen close Alliance consultation regarding U.S. nuclear and missile defense policy.
The United States committed to strengthen coordination with the ROK to continue to deploy and exercise strategic assets in the region in a timely and effective manner to deter and respond to the DPRK and enhance regional security. They highlighted the combined training of fifth generation F-35A fighter jets in July and the upcoming deployment of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the region as a clear demonstration of such U.S. commitment.
The two sides will continue to explore avenues to enhance Alliance strategic readiness through improved information sharing, training, and exercises, as they relate to nuclear and non-nuclear threats, including better use of table-top exercises. Both sides also pledged to improve coordination and strengthen the Alliance’s missile response capabilities and posture, and continuing cooperation in the space and cyber arenas, to include through expanded multi-domain exercises.
The United States reiterated its strong support for the aims of the ROK’s Audacious Initiative, and both sides committed to continue their coordinated efforts to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The two sides also agreed that they will enhance cooperation to address DPRK sanctions evasion and illicit cyber activities using diplomatic, economic, and military tools. Both countries emphasized that the DPRK’s continued pursuit and development of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction in defiance of multiple United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions undermines regional and global security and stability and the global nonproliferation regime. Both sides agreed on the importance of upholding and fully implementing all relevant UNSC resolutions. The United States and the ROK reaffirmed that a DPRK nuclear test would be met with a strong and resolute whole-of-government response. The two countries are closely coordinating in detail and stand ready for all possible scenarios.
In the face of the DPRK’s evolving nuclear and missile threats, and increased threats in the region, both sides pledged to continue collaborating to ensure that ROK and U.S. strategies and postures promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, including through bilateral exercises and training as well as trilateral and multilateral cooperation with partners throughout the region.
The two sides assessed that the third EDSCG, including a delegation tour of a B-52 strategic bomber, contributed substantively to strengthening Alliance deterrence, as well as enhanced shared understanding and effectiveness of U.S. extended deterrence. The two sides agreed to hold the high-level EDSCG annually. The next EDSCG engagement will be held during the first half of 2023 at the expert-level to advance efforts prior to the next EDSCG high-level meeting.