President Donald J. Trump visited the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) June 29–30. During this visit, President Trump and R.O.K. President Moon Jae-in affirmed the unbreakable bond between our two countries and committed to further strengthen our bilateral relationship. Both sides reaffirmed that the strong U.S.-R.O.K. alliance is the linchpin of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific. The two leaders also took steps to deepen security, economic, scientific, health, and cultural cooperation in the region.
Commitment to Peace
- President Trump and President Moon emphasized the need to continue close coordination on North Korea. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions regarding North Korea.
- While in Korea, President Trump met with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un at the DMZ, where they agreed to resume working-level negotiations between the United States and North Korea. President Trump remains committed to achieving the goals he and Chairman Kim set at the Singapore Summit: transforming U.S.-DPRK relations, building lasting peace, and complete denuclearization of the DPRK.
Deepening Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific
- President Trump and President Moon explored ways to deepen cooperation between the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the R.O.K. New Southern Policy.
- President Trump and President Moon committed to jointly advance good governance and transparency, rule of law, sovereignty, a rules-based order, and market economic principles in the Indo-Pacific.
- Meaningful cooperation—in development assistance, energy and digital network security, maritime law enforcement capacity building, and natural disaster resiliency—will address emerging challenges and make the U.S.-R.O.K. alliance more robust and adaptable.
- The United States and R.O.K. share a principled approach in supporting the centrality of ASEAN and related regional institutions.
- The leaders reiterated their commitment to the sovereignty and economic independence of the countries of the Mekong region, including through the Lower Mekong Initiative, R.O.K.-Mekong, Friends of the Lower Mekong, and other complementary regional initiatives. Both sides welcomed U.S.-R.O.K. cooperation in the Mekong, including in the areas of transboundary water governance, women’s empowerment, and digital economy.
- The United States and the R.O.K. share goals on encouraging an open and innovative environment for a thriving regional digital economy. For example, the United States promotes an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, encourages private sector engagement in the digital economy, and strengthens regional cybersecurity capability and capacity through programs such as the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership and the U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership.
Alliance Forged in Blood
- As the linchpin of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S.-R.O.K. alliance supports peace on the Peninsula and in the region.
- The United States and the R.O.K. highlighted their robust military sales partnership, including the recent acquisition of 40 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters to bolster U.S.-R.O.K. combined defense.
- President Trump and President Moon affirmed plans to continue to strengthen alliance defense and deterrence capabilities through the R.O.K.’s acquisition and development of highly advanced military assets.
- The two leaders acknowledged the importance of exercises and training programs to maintain combined U.S.-R.O.K. military readiness and support peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The United States and the R.O.K. agreed to coordinate with Japan on trilateral security cooperation, including information sharing, high-level policy consultation, and combined exercises.
Mutually Reinforcing Prosperity
- President Trump has worked diligently to improve the trade relationship between the United States and the R.O.K.
- Last year, President Trump and President Moon welcomed significant improvements to the United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement. The updated deal secured key improvements that preserve and grow jobs in America’s auto industry.
- The R.O.K. is one of the United States’ closest trading partners, with more than $130 billion in two-way goods trade and nearly $35 billion in services in 2018 alone.
- The goods and services trade deficit with the R.O.K. dropped by more than 20 percent in 2018.
- U.S. exports of autos, agricultural products, fuel, and chemicals to the R.O.K. grew last year.
- The R.O.K. is a major source of foreign direct investment in the United States.
- U.S. subsidiaries of R.O.K. firms supported nearly 52,000 U.S. jobs, contributed $1.1 billion to U.S. research and development, and are accountable for $14.2 billion in U.S. exports of goods from majority-owned U.S. affiliates, as of 2016.
- South Korean investment continues to grow and is the 13th fastest growing source of investment. Since President Trump’s visit in 2017, R.O.K. firms have announced and brought into operation several multi-billion dollar investment projects in the United States.
- In May 2019, Lotte Chemical USA and Westlake Chemical Corporation held an opening ceremony for their $3.1 billion joint-venture ethylene facility and Lotte Chemical’s ethylene glycol production facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
- In May 2019, LG Electronics opened its $360 million washing machine factory in Clarksville, Tennessee.
- In March 2019, SK Group broke ground on a $1.67 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Jackson County, Georgia.
- In February 2019, Hanwha Q Cells announced that it has brought its 3.8 gigawatt solar panel factory in Dalton, Georgia online.
- In August 2017, LG Electronics announced plans to establish a $25 million factory for advanced electric vehicle components in Hazel Park, Michigan.
- In January 2017, Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors announced plans to invest $3.1 billion in the United States by 2021.