In line with the April 2023 Washington Declaration and the historic decision by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and President Yoon Suk Yeol to establish the bilateral Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG), the national security authorities of the United States (U.S.) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) launched the inaugural meeting of the NCG on July 18, 2023, in Seoul. The NCG will be an enduring mechanism for strengthening the U.S.-ROK Alliance and enhancing our combined deterrence and response posture. As a result, the collective strength of our two nations will directly contribute to the continued peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and across the Indo-Pacific region.

The inaugural NCG meeting was convened by Dr. Kim Tae-hyo, Principal Deputy National Security Advisor of the ROK; Dr. Kurt Campbell, Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific at the U.S. National Security Council (NSC); and Ms. Cara Abercrombie, Coordinator for Defense Policy and Arms Control at the NSC. ROK and U.S. defense officials led at the assistant secretary-level, and foreign affairs officials took part in the meeting.

This inaugural NCG meeting afforded the United States an opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen the U.S. commitment to provide extended deterrence to the ROK backed by the full range of U.S. capabilities, including nuclear. Any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime, and the U.S. and ROK sides highlighted that any nuclear attack by the DPRK against the ROK will be met with a swift, overwhelming, and decisive response. Both sides affirmed that the NCG will play an integral role in discussing and advancing bilateral approaches, including guidelines, to nuclear and strategic planning and responses to DPRK aggression. To that end, both sides established a range of workstreams to bolster nuclear deterrence and response capabilities on the Korean Peninsula, including the development of security and information sharing protocols; nuclear consultation and communication processes in crises and contingencies; as well as coordination and development of relevant planning, operations, exercises, simulations, trainings, and investment activities. In particular, the U.S. and ROK discussed joint planning and execution of ROK conventional support to U.S. nuclear operations as well as how to enhance visibility of U.S. strategic asset deployments around the Korean Peninsula.

Both sides committed to promptly executing these workstreams and other efforts within the NCG, and to report progress up to the ROK and U.S. presidents through their respective chains-of-command in the coming months. The NCG will be held quarterly at appropriate levels, and the next principal-level meeting will take place later this year in the United States.


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