The following is the text of a joint statement issued in Washington today by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Cho Yung Kil:
1. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and ROK Minister of National Defense Cho Yung Kil met in Washington D.C. on June 27, 2003. They consulted on the ongoing strengthening of the U.S.-ROK Alliance, the Global War on Terrorism, and North Korea.
2. Other attendees at the meeting were Ambassador Han Seung-Joo and Deputy Minister for Policy LTG Cha Young-Koo from the ROK side. Attendees on the U.S. side included Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Peter Rodman, Commander of the Pacific Command Adm. Thomas Fargo, Commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea Gen. Leon J. LaPorte, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia-Pacific Richard P. Lawless.
3. Recognizing the historic significance of this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-ROK alliance, Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Cho reaffirmed their commitment to the strengthening of the alliance to meet the security challenges of the 21st century.
4. Reaffirming that the Summit meeting between President Bush and President Roh in Washington D.C. on May 14, 2003 served as an occasion to further strengthen the bilateral relationship, the Secretary and the Minister noted that their meeting provided a timely opportunity to candidly consult on the strengthening and development of the ROK-U.S. alliance.
5. The Secretary and the Minister noted with satisfaction the progress in the "Future of the Alliance" consultations. Secretary Rumsfeld emphasized the U.S. commitment to the security of the ROK. He reiterated that the ability to meet that commitment will be enhanced as the two countries implement the agreements from these bilateral discussions. The Secretary and the Minister agreed that our goal is an alliance that is more capable, less intrusive in the lives of ordinary Koreans, and reflective of the changes that have occurred in the ROK over the past decades, as well as meeting the U.S. desire for a more capable global force structure. Both agreed on the need to continue work toward enhancing, shaping, and aligning the alliance to meet the challenges of the 21st century security environment.
- Enhance: Minister Cho noted that the U.S. plan to invest over $11 billion in force enhancements over the next four years will greatly improve deterrence and enhance the security of the ROK. Secretary Rumsfeld took note of the ROK’s effort to invest in the transformation of its forces as it takes on an increasing role in peninsula defense. The Minister and Secretary shared the assessment that this effort will contribute to the development of the U.S.-ROK combined military capabilities and strengthen deterrence.
- Shape: Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Cho agreed with the assessment of President Bush and President Roh that Republic of Korea’s growing national strength provides an opportunity to expand the role of the ROK armed forces in defending the Korean Peninsula. The Secretary and the Minister agreed to move forward with the transfer of selected missions from U.S. to the ROK forces in conjunction with the development of enhanced combined ROK-U.S. capabilities. The Secretary and the Minister shared the view that the ROK-U.S. Alliance should continue to contribute to the stability of the region.
- Align: The Minister and the Secretary agreed on the need to move the U.S. garrison at Yongsan out of the city of Seoul at the earliest possible date. They also both firmly committed to consolidating U.S. forces south of the Han river in a two phase process. The first phase would involve an initial consolidation of U.S. forces on a smaller number of bases prior to their final stationing in the area around Osan airbase and Camp Humphreys. The second phase will be pursued through close consultations between ROK and the U.S..
6. Minister Cho expressed high regards for Secretary Rumsfeld’s determination and outstanding leadership exhibited throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Secretary Rumsfeld conveyed his appreciation for the ROK government’s support in Iraq. Minister Cho conveyed the desire of Korea to actively participate in post-war reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and Iraq. Secretary Rumsfeld took note of the Minister’s remarks.
7. The Secretary and the Minister assessed the North Korean military threat and the current security situation in and around the Korean peninsula. Minister Cho and Secretary Rumsfeld called upon North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in a prompt, irreversible, and verifiable fashion. Both noted with serious concern North Korea’s statements about reprocessing, possession of nuclear weapons, and its threat to demonstrate or transfer these weapons. The Secretary and the Minister expressed their desire that the North Korean nuclear issue be peacefully resolved through multilateral diplomacy. Both also agreed that to eliminate the North Korean nuclear threat diplomatically requires allied solidarity backed by strong deterrence.
8. Noting that the U.S.-ROK defense ministerial meeting has allowed the two sides to continue the momentum provided by the U.S.-ROK summit meeting, both sides agreed to continue consultations in the Future of the Alliance discussions culminating with agreement on detailed implementation plans at the 35th Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul in the Fall.