Following is the text of a joint statement by the United States and the Republic of Korea issued on July 21, 2010, in Seoul:
ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan and Minister of National Defense Kim Tae-young, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates met in Seoul on July 21, 2010, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, which gave birth to the ROK-U.S. Alliance.
The Ministers reflected on the shared sacrifice and dedication to defend freedom and democracy during the Korean War, and acknowledged that the ROK-U.S. Alliance has promoted peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also in Northeast Asia, and has evolved into a strong, successful and enduring alliance.
They also noted the historic significance of the Joint Vision for the Alliance of the Republic of Korea and the United States of America adopted by the two leaders in June 2009 and pledged to continue to advance alliance cooperation bilaterally, regionally, and globally.
The Ministers reaffirmed the mutual responsibilities and steadfast commitments of the two countries founded on the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, which has served as the bedrock of the allied partnership. They committed to maintain a robust combined defense posture capable of deterring and defeating any and all North Korean threats, including through recently announced bilateral plans to conduct a series of joint military exercises over the coming months in the ROK and off the east and west coasts of the Korean Peninsula. They also pledged to develop the alliance’s vision for future defense cooperation.
In support of their Presidents' recent decision, the Ministers also decided to complete a new plan, Strategic Alliance 2015, by this year's Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), including the transition of wartime Operational Control (OPCON) to the ROK military in December 2015. The transition of wartime OPCON is to proceed through close coordination between the two countries to sustain and enhance the Alliance’s combined defense posture and capabilities.
The Ministers welcomed the UN Security Council Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2010/13) on July 9, 2010 condemning the attack by North Korea, which led to the sinking of the Cheonan
. They shared the view that such an irresponsible military provocation poses a grave threat to peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the region. The Ministers urged North Korea to take responsibility for the attack. They also called upon North Korea to refrain from further attacks or hostilities against the ROK and underscored that there would be serious consequences for any such irresponsible behavior.
The Ministers urged North Korea to abandon all its nuclear programs and its pursuit of nuclear weapons in a complete and verifiable manner, and to demonstrate its genuine will for denuclearization with concrete actions. They also urged North Korea to improve human rights conditions and living standards for its people in cooperation with the international community.
Building on the June 2009 Joint Vision, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to broaden and deepen the scope of Alliance cooperation. They shared the view that growing political, economic, social, scientific, technological, and cultural bilateral cooperation will increase the mutual understanding and respect between our citizens on the basis of common values and trust. They also committed to work together more closely and comprehensively at the regional and global levels.
Reaffirming the utmost importance of the KORUS FTA, they pledged to work towards ratification as discussed by the two Presidents in Toronto last month. They also pledged to work towards a new ROK-U.S. Agreement for Cooperation on Civil Uses of Atomic Energy in a mutually beneficial way in order to meet the challenges of climate change and energy security in the future.
Furthermore, the Ministers welcomed the close mutual cooperation on a wide range of issues within regional frameworks including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and committed to work closely together to further promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region. They also discussed the Northeast Asia regional security environment and ways the Alliance can evolve to address new challenges in this dynamic region.
Meanwhile, the Ministers exchanged ideas about ways to meet the global challenges of terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, financial crisis, transnational crimes, climate change, epidemic disease, energy security, and promotion of green growth, and decided to continue joint efforts in this regard. They also exchanged views about how development assistance can increase stability and security, and decided to increase coordination of development assistance programs around the world to help achieve our shared goals.
The Ministers shared the view that they would draw on the lessons learned through the rebuilding of the ROK in the decades following the devastating Korean War to strengthen cooperative efforts for stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and around the world. The U.S. side welcomed the ROK’s sending of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) to Afghanistan, and the ROK side reaffirmed its determination to support security, governance, and development in Afghanistan. They also welcomed ROK-U.S. coordination and cooperation in other areas including the efforts to combat piracy near the Horn of Africa and peacekeeping efforts in Haiti.
The Ministers noted the two countries share mutual views on how to face global challenges, as evidenced by the United States previously hosting the Nuclear Security Summit and the G20 summit, and the ROK hosting these events in the future.
The Ministers concurred that today's Foreign and Defense Ministers' Meeting was very productive and useful, and decided to hold foreign and defense officials' meetings at the deputy minister/assistant secretary level. They also pledged to continue to develop the existing ministerial consultations of Strategic Consultation for Allied Partnership (SCAP) and Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) and to consider holding further Foreign and Defense Ministers' meetings, as necessary.