Forged during the Korean War and codified in the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty, the United States–Republic of Korea (ROK) Alliance has evolved into a global comprehensive strategic partnership which serves as a linchpin for security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Over 28,500 U.S. military personnel are stationed in the ROK and work closely with the ROK military and United Nations Command member countries to deter and defend against the threat from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and maintain the Korean Armistice Agreement.
To deter DPRK provocations and attacks, the U.S.-ROK Alliance maintains a strong defensive military posture which includes annual combined exercises, robust military sales, consistent reaffirmations of United States’ commitment to the security of the ROK through an enduring combined command structure, and close, consultative relations between U.S. and ROK senior leadership on security issues. The U.S.-ROK Alliance is one of three bilateral mutual defense alliances the United States is party to in the Indo-Pacific region.
The United States supports the ROK’s defense modernization efforts through defense sales in order to facilitate the ROK’s eventual leadership of the combined defense forces and strengthen its role as a regional security partner. The United States has more than $30 billion in active government-to-government sales cases with the ROK under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. Recent and significant implemented FMS sales notified to Congress include: MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes, Precision Guided Munitions, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, P-8A Patrol Aircraft, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile systems, Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, KF-16 aircraft Upgrades, Aegis Combat Systems, Harpoon and Hellfire Missiles, and AH-64E Attack Helicopters.
From FY2019 to FY2021, the United States also authorized the permanent export of over $3.4 billion in defense articles to the ROK via the Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) process. The top categories of DCS to the ROK include gas turbine engines, military electronics, and fire control and related equipment.
The ROK is a significant contributor of troops to United Nations peacekeeping operations, with more than 600 personnel deployed to six missions. In coordination with the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative, the ROK partners with United States Indo-Pacific Command by providing instructors to regional training events and participating in peacekeeping exercises.
Since 1991, the ROK has defrayed a portion of the cost of maintaining U.S. military personnel in Korea through successive U.S.-ROK Special Measures Agreements. The estimated total value of the ROK contribution over the duration of 11th SMA will be just over $7 billion.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM