South Korea, U.S. Have Productive Bilateral Security Talks

Washington –- South Korean and U.S. officials agree that, because of the shared values of democracy, human rights and a free-market economy, their bilateral alliance steadily has strengthened and has been critical in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and throughout Northeast Asia.

Delegations from the two governments met November 7 in Seoul, the South Korean capital, where they reaffirmed their joint commitment to strengthen the alliance. Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan led his country's delegation, while Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns represented the United States.

The talks were billed as the first subministerial session of the U.S.-Korean Strategic Consultation for Allied Partnership.  It had been conceived as a follow-up session to a ministerial-level strategic consultation held on January 19.

According to a statement released after the November 7 talks, both sides participated in in-depth discussion on issues including the current situation in Northeast Asia, security cooperation, U.N. reform, the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance, the North Korean nuclear issue and inter-Korean relations.

Both sides agreed that "North Korea's [October 9] nuclear test is a grave threat to peace and security," and that North Korea "will not be recognized as a nuclear-weapon State," according to the statement. North Korea's agreement to return to the Six-Party Talks with Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States was welcomed by both sides. The statement said U.S. and South Korean officials will consult closely and in-depth on issues related to resuming the talks. (See related article.)

Other topics discussed and agreed to in Seoul November 7 included cooperating in fighting terrorism, promoting security cooperation in Northeast Asia and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.  Both sides affirmed the method of strategic consultations to promote bilateral relations.

The November 7 statement on the talks and the January 19 statement on the launch of the strategic consultations are available on the State Department's Web site.

For more information on U.S. policy, see The U.S. and the Korean Peninsula and Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.