STATEMENTS AND RELEASES
MAY 21, 2021
Over seventy years ago, the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea was forged on the battlefield, as we stood shoulder-to-shoulder in war. Bonded in common sacrifice, our partnership has helped to keep the peace in the decades since, allowing both of our countries and our peoples to thrive. The linchpin for stability and prosperity, our alliance has continued to evolve as the world around us has changed. Now, as the regional security environment in the Indo-Pacific grows more complex, and existential issues, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the threat of climate change, reshape the globe, we recommit ourselves to an ironclad alliance.
The United States and the Republic of Korea share a vision for a region governed by democratic norms, human rights, and the rule of law at home and abroad. We seek a partnership that continues to provide peace and prosperity for our peoples, while serving as a linchpin for the regional and global order. Above all, we are united in our determination to reinvigorate and modernize our ties for a new era. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is honored to welcome President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea to Washington to begin a new chapter in our partnership.
The Alliance: Opening a New Chapter
President Biden and President Moon reaffirm their mutual commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and their combined defense posture under the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, and President Biden affirms the U.S. commitment to provide extended deterrence using its full range of capabilities. We commit to strengthening the alliance deterrence posture, share the importance of maintaining joint military readiness, and reiterate our firm commitment to a conditions-based transition of wartime operational control. We also agree to deepen cooperation in other domains, including cyber and space, to ensure an effective joint response against emerging threats. We welcome the signing of a multi-year Special Measures Agreement, which enhances our combined defense posture and represents our dedication to the alliance.
The two sides reaffirm that close coordination on all matters related to global nonproliferation and safe, secure, and safeguarded uses of nuclear technology remain key characteristics of the alliance, and the United States recognizes the ROK’s global role in promoting nonproliferation efforts. Following consultations with the United States, the ROK announces the termination of its Revised Missile Guidelines, and the Presidents acknowledged the decision.
President Biden and President Moon emphasize their shared commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and their intent to address the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK’s) nuclear and ballistic missile programs. We call for the full implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions by the international community, including the DPRK. President Moon welcomes the conclusion of the United States’ DPRK policy review, which takes a calibrated and practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with the DPRK to make tangible progress that increases the security of the United States and the Republic of Korea. We also reaffirm our common belief that diplomacy and dialogue, based on previous inter-Korean and U.S.-DPRK commitments such as the 2018 Panmunjom Declaration and Singapore Joint Statement, are essential to achieve the complete denuclearization and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. President Biden also expresses his support for inter-Korean dialogue, engagement, and cooperation. We agree to work together to improve the human rights situation in the DPRK and commit to continue facilitating the provision of humanitarian aid to the neediest North Koreans. We also share our willingness to help facilitate the reunion of separated families of the two Koreas. We also agree to coordinate our approaches to the DPRK in lockstep. We underscore the fundamental importance of U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral cooperation for addressing the DPRK, protecting our shared security and prosperity, upholding common values, and bolstering the rules-based order.
The significance of the U.S.-ROK relationship extends far beyond the Korean Peninsula: it is grounded in our shared values and anchors our respective approaches to the Indo-Pacific region. We agree we will work to align the ROK’s New Southern Policy and the United States’ vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific and that our countries will cooperate to create a safe, prosperous, and dynamic region. The United States and the ROK reaffirm support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN-led regional architecture. We agree to expand regional coordination on law enforcement, cybersecurity, public health and promoting a green recovery. We agree to work closely together to promote greater connectivity and foster digital innovation within ASEAN, while developing deeper people-to-people ties among Americans, Koreans, and the people of Southeast Asia. We will also consider opportunities for joint efforts to promote sustainable development, energy security, and responsible water management in the Mekong sub-region. The United States and the ROK also reaffirm support for enhanced cooperation with Pacific Island Countries and acknowledge the importance of open, transparent, and inclusive regional multilateralism including the Quad.
The United States and the Republic of Korea oppose all activities that undermine, destabilize, or threaten the rules-based international order and commit to maintaining an inclusive, free, and open Indo-Pacific. We pledge to maintain peace and stability, lawful unimpeded commerce, and respect for international law, including freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea and beyond. President Biden and President Moon emphasize the importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. As democracies that value pluralism and individual liberty, we share our intent to promote human rights and rule of law issues, both at home and abroad.
We resolutely condemn violence by the Myanmar military and police against civilians, and commit to continuing to press for the immediate cessation of violence, the release of those who are detained, and a swift return to democracy. We call on all nations to join us in providing safe haven to Burmese nationals and in prohibiting arms sales to Myanmar.
The Way Forward: Comprehensive Partnership for a Better Future
President Biden and President Moon acknowledge that contemporary threats and challenges require us to deepen our partnership in new areas. We commit to forging new ties on climate, global health, emerging technologies, including 5G and 6G technology and semi-conductors, supply chain resilience, migration and development, and in our people-to-people relationship.
President Moon welcomes U.S. leadership to enhance global climate ambitions through its hosting of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate on April 22, 2021. President Biden looks forward to the Republic of Korea’s contributions to achieve inclusive, international green recovery and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by hosting the P4G Seoul Summit on May 30-31. The United States has submitted an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution, and welcomes the Republic of Korea’s plan to release early in October its provisional enhanced 2030 target, and by COP 26 its final enhanced 2030 target, aligned with efforts to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius and with the global goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. We will cooperate to enhance our efforts to achieve our 2030 targets and 2050 goals, including long-term strategies, set examples among the world leaders in reducing carbon emissions, conserve and enhance natural carbon sinks such as oceans and forests, and expand much-needed collaboration on technology and innovation to help achieve our long-term goals.
Building on President Moon’s declaration to end public financing for new overseas coal fired power plants and President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis, the Republic of Korea and United States will work together at the OECD and in other international venues to end all forms of new public financing for unabated overseas coal-fired power plants.
The Republic of Korea and the United States will align official international financing with the global achievement of net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050 and deep emission reductions in the 2020s. The Republic of Korea looks forward to joining with the United States and other countries in contributing climate finance towards the new post-2025 mobilization goal under the Paris Agreement.
The United States and the Republic of Korea have been critical allies in the COVID-19 pandemic and on longstanding global health challenges, and President Biden expresses his gratitude for the ROK’s donation of critical medical supplies to the United States at its time of dire need. Against this backdrop, we agree to establish a comprehensive KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership to strengthen joint response capabilities for infectious disease through international vaccine cooperation, including focus areas on global expansion of production and related materials, as well as scientific and technological cooperation. Drawing on each of our strengths, Korea and the United States will work collaboratively to expand manufacturing of vaccines that have been demonstrated safe and effective, as assessed by Stringent Regulatory Authorities and/or the World Health Organization, for global benefit. The United States and Korea will partner to meet increasing demand for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in a timely manner. Based on the partnership, we will actively cooperate on greatly scaling up global COVID-19 vaccine supply, including through COVAX and in coordination with CEPI, to countries around the world toward ending the pandemic in the nearest future and preparing for the next biological threat. To this end, we will launch a senior-level experts group, the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership Experts Group, to implement the partnership, comprised of scientists, experts and officials from our governments. Both countries will actively work together to ensure the success of COVAX, and the ROK commends the United States on its bold $4 billion contribution this year. To this end, and in recognition that we are both leaders in this fight, the ROK will increase its pledge to COVAX AMC substantially this year.
We agree to work together to strengthen and reform the World Health Organization by strengthening its ability to prevent pandemics through early and effective prevention, detection, and response to potential health emergencies, and by increasing its transparency and ensuring its independence. We will also support a transparent and independent evaluation and analysis of the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak and for investigating outbreaks of unknown origin in the future. We resolve to take decisive action to help the Indo-Pacific build better regional pandemic preparedness, and will work together and multilaterally to build the capacity of all countries to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. To move towards this goal, the ROK commits to increase its engagement in the Global Health Security Agenda Steering Group and Action Package Working Groups, and the ROK pledges a new $200M commitment for 2021-2025 period to support the GHSA target and help partner countries fill their gaps. The United States and the ROK will also work together with likeminded countries to create a new sustainable, catalytic health security financing mechanism.
The United States and the ROK are among each other’s largest trading and investment partners, and these strong economic ties, particularly the U.S.- Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), are a bedrock. The Presidents agreed to cooperate closely on the reform of the WTO and expressed their shared commitment to oppose unfair trade practices.
With the technological landscape rapidly changing, we agree to strengthen our partnership on critical and emerging technologies to promote our shared security and prosperity. We agree on the importance of careful screening of foreign investments and cooperation on export controls on critical technologies. Recognizing the importance of telecommunications security and vendor diversity, President Biden and President Moon commit to work together to develop open, transparent, and efficient 5G and 6G network architectures using Open-RAN technology. To this end, we agree to cooperate to increase resiliency in our supply chains, including in priority sectors such as semiconductors, eco-friendly EV batteries, strategic and critical materials, and pharmaceuticals. We also agree to work together to increase the global supply of legacy chips for automobiles, and to support leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing in both countries through the promotion of increased mutual investments as well as research and development cooperation. President Biden and President Moon commit to work together to develop a future-oriented partnership by leading innovation in the areas of clean energy, such as next generation batteries, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage, and in the emerging technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, next generation communications network (6G), open-RAN technology, quantum technology, and bio-technology.
President Biden and President Moon also commit to strengthening their partnership in civil space exploration, science, and aeronautics research and will cooperate towards the ROK signing the Artemis Accords. Moreover, we commit to develop cooperation in overseas nuclear markets, including joint participation in nuclear power plant projects, while ensuring the highest standards of international nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation are maintained.
President Biden and President Moon welcome the chance to strengthen development ties between the United States and the ROK. We are pleased to expand our partnership to facilitate closer collaboration between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Korea International Cooperation Agency. We also recognize the importance of addressing the root causes of migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle countries to the United States. To this end, the ROK pledges to increase its financial commitment to development cooperation in the Northern Triangle countries to $220 million for the 2021-2024 period. The United States also welcomes the ROK’s initiatives to increase cooperation with the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region, including digital and green cooperation.
The enduring friendship between the United States and the Republic of Korea is fed by our vibrant people-to-people ties. Over 1.7 million Korean students have enrolled in United States educational institutions since 1955. More than two million ROK citizens visit, work, or live in the United States, and over 200,000 U.S. citizens reside in the ROK. More than 10,000 U.S. and ROK citizens have participated in sponsored exchange programs, including ROK political leaders. We take great pride in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first Korean and American Fulbright grantees to visit each other’s countries, which demonstrates the depth and strength of the longstanding ties between the people of the United States and the ROK. Our extensive exchange programs promote common purpose between our countries; we agree to increase two-way exchanges of young environmental leaders to strengthen our ability to cooperate in this critical area. Moving forward, we place particular emphasis on supporting greater interaction between experts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and empowering women and girls in these fields, to build a solid foundation for secure and sustainable innovation and economic resilience in both countries.
President Biden and President Moon also agree to redouble their commitment to democratic values, and the promotion of human rights at home and abroad. The strength of our democracies depends on women’s full participation in them. Together we will strive to end the abuse of women and girls, including domestic violence and cyber-exploitation, and to exchange best practices to close the gender wage gap–a challenge both our countries share. We agree to expand cooperation to combat corruption, and ensure the freedoms of expression and religion and belief. Finally, we join voices in condemning violence against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, and pledge to work together to ensure that all Americans, including Korean-Americans, are treated with dignity and respect.
At a time of considerable international hardship and rapid global change, President Biden and President Moon are cognizant of the hurdles facing the United States, the ROK, and the world. We recognize that, with our cooperation, the U.S.-ROK alliance will play an increasingly global role, allowing us to rise to these defining challenges. For over seven decades, and thanks to its reciprocity and dynamism, our alliance has been a source of steadfast national strength; we look forward to working closely together to ensure it remains one for decades to come. President Moon expresses his gratitude to President Biden for the warm hospitality and extends an invitation for President Biden to visit the ROK.