President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea arrived in the United States on April 25 to mark the 70th anniversary of bilateral ties between the two countries.
By allying with an extended nuclear deterrence plan against North Korea’s regional aggressiveness, Mr Yoon intended to advance the strategic partnership.
The proclamation implied that South Korea will not attempt to develop its own independent nuclear capability by reaffirming the non-proliferation Treaty.
A nuclear consultative committee would be established to develop the guiding principles of combined response strategies, and an American nuclear ballistic submarine would be stationed in the Korean peninsula, according to the declaration.
In addition to providing South Korea with intelligence about nuclear developments, the United States will improve South Korea’s nuclear deterrence capabilities through collaborative military training initiatives and an annual intergovernmental simulation.
In the declaration, the non-proliferation treaty was reaffirmed, implying that South Korea would forgo developing its independent nuclear capabilities in favour of concentrating on deterrence tactics based on alliances.
Additionally, it establishes the President of the United States as the sole authority with the power to use American nuclear weapons in the event of a nuclear exchange.
Points to Ponder:
On April 25, 2023, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol paid a visit to the United States to mark the 70th anniversary of bilateral ties between the two countries.
The signing of the “Washington Declaration” as a nuclear deterrence strategy, intended to advance the strategic relationship and forge an alliance over an extended nuclear deterrence plan against North Korea’s regional aggression, was the focus of the visit.
The successful launch of North Korea’s Hwasong-8 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a crucial part of delivering nuclear weapons, appears to be what motivated the South Korean president to travel to the United States.
The Washington agreement will usher in a new phase in Seoul and Washington’s partnership, outlining cooperation towards deterrence, including the deployment of an American nuclear ballistic submarine in the Korean peninsula, the creation of a nuclear consultative group to develop principles of joint response tactics, the sharing of intelligence regarding nuclear advancements, and the strengthening of South Korea’s nuclear deterrence capabilities through joint military training programmes
The proclamation reiterates the non-proliferation Treaty, suggesting that South Korea would forego developing its nuclear arsenal in favour of concentrating on deterrence tactics based on alliances.
The United States is opposed to South Korea possessing a nuclear arsenal for several reasons, including impeding ongoing efforts to control global nuclear production, making the incorrect assumption that South Korea’s nuclear capability could prevent North Korea from producing weapons, and the assurance that the United States and its nuclear weapons would protect its allies by being responsible for preserving regional stability.
China has criticised the agreement, and Kim Jong-Un’s sister has warned that it will only expose the peace and security of North East Asia and the rest of the world to much greater danger. The regional response has been divided.
According to a Chicago Council on Foreign Relations study, 71% of South Koreans want to create their nuclear weapons and are sceptical of U.S. help. They would rather have their deterrence.