Yoon, Biden Reaffirm Alliance Against North Korean Threats: Looming tensions on the Korean peninsula prompted by heightened tensions with North Korea. The number of its missile launches and nuclear threats has increased.
Yoon Comes to Washington and Scores a Victory
This stood large in the background of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s visit to Washington.
So far, most analyses would concur that the visit was a smashing success, pushing the Biden team to focus on Korea once again when Ukraine and the 2024 presidential election dominate Washington’s attention.
President Joe Biden held an official state dinner in his honor. Yoon has been intent on strengthening the alliance with Washington. He became the first South Korean leader to attend a NATO summit last year.
North Korean missile launches have increased. Earlier this month, North Korea launched what was believed to be a new type of solid-fueled missile. Japan’s government said it appeared to have been an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Washington Declaration Is Historic
Yoon unveiled the Washington Declaration with Biden to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korean alliance.
The declaration announced the creation of a Nuclear Consultative Group to enhance nuclear deterrence on the Korean Peninsula to counter the nuclear threat from North Korea.
Both nations pledged under the agreement to establish bilateral, interagency tabletop simulations to wargame a mutual response to nuclear contingencies.
The declaration notes that the U.S. will consult with South Korea on any potential nuclear weapons deployment on the Korean Peninsula.
“We want to customize our response against North Korea’s nuclear threat based on extended deterrence. And in the process of achieving this goal, any concerns that Koreans may have against North Korean nuclear weapons will be relieved, I believe,” Yoon said at his joint press conference with Biden. “If nuclear weapons are used, our two countries will strengthen our response in a swift manner.”
Biden promised the U.S. would do everything it can to deter a nuclear attack by North Korea.
“Look, a nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies or partisans — partners — is unacceptable and will result in the end of whatever regime, were it to take such an action,” Biden said responding to Yoon. “And it’s about strengthening deterrence in response to the DPRK’s escalatory behavior and to deal in complete consultation.
Biden continued: “And, you know, the idea that I have absolute authority as commander-in-chief and the sole authority to use a nuclear weapon. But, you know, what the declaration means is that we’re going make every effort to consult with our allies when it’s appropriate if any actions are so called for.”
Yoon Addresses Congress
Yoon also addressed a joint session of Congress and reiterated his commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
“There is one regime determined to pursue a wrong path — that is North Korea. The difference is stark between Seoul that chose freedom and democracy, and Pyongyang that chose dictatorship and communism,” Yoon said in his address. “North Korea’s nuclear program and missile provocations pose a serious threat to the peace on the Korean peninsula and beyond.”
Getting the Balance Right
Yoon, a Conservative, has shown an interest in deploying American anti-missile systems after coming to power last year in contrast with his predecessor.
He faces a delicate balancing act between the U.S.-South Korean alliance and displeasure from Beijing, his country’s largest trading partner.
China imposed unofficial sanctions in 2017 over South Korean plans to host a THAAD missile defense battery. Yoon visited China last September and attempted to reassure China that deployment of the system in his country should not harm bilateral relations.
China has insisted that South Korea observe its predecessor Moon Jae-In’s Three Nos policy of not allowing a THAAD deployment on its territory, no participation in a U.S.-led missile defense network, and abstaining from participation in a trilateral alliance with Japan.
Yoon has been more willing than his predecessor to reassess that policy. So far, most experts have argued that Yoon has been able to navigate effectively the growing Cold War between Washington and Beijing with skill and expertise.
John Rossomando’s work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award in 2008 for his reporting.