April 27, 2023

Yoon’s State Visit Shows an Alliance on the Move

President Yoon Suk Yeol’s State Visit – just the second during the Biden administration – has rightly focused minds on the close and enduring ties between South Korea and the United States. His program in Washington kicked off today and will continue, including his address Thursday to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Already, however, the visit is shaping up as a significant bilateral success.

The summit intended to mark the U.S.-ROK alliance’s 70th anniversary and to highlight the bond that has secured peace and prosperity amid decades of change. South Korea’s transformation over those years into an advanced democracy with global weight has been nothing short of astonishing. Today, American political leaders wish to encourage South Korea’s role as – in President Yoon’s words – a “global pivotal state,” engaged in issues as varied as technology, defense, and democracy. Furthermore, both sides seek not only to rest on seven decades of accomplishment but also to look forward to new horizons.

Now is the time for South Korea and the United States to work together in pursuit of order, security, freedom, and prosperity.

First, however, there are pressing issues of the day. Foremost among them is the American nuclear umbrella and South Korean reliance on extended deterrence for its own protection.

The threat from North Korea is real and rising. Pyongyang conducted 95 missile launches in 2022 – more than the total in any previous year – and changed its nuclear doctrine to lower the bar for strikes. The North touts its tactical nuclear weapons and this month launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile. The oft-invoked “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” denuclearization is more distant today than it has ever been, and no realistic chance of disarmament stands on the horizon. As Pyongyang continues to issue lurid threats of preemptive strikes on the South, it’s no wonder that Seoul seeks reassurance about the credibility of U.S. protections.

Read the full article and more from Korea on Point.

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