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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 582-00
September 21, 2000

32nd Republic of Korea - United States Security Consultative Meeting Joint Communiqu September 21, 2000 Seoul, Korea

1. The 32nd ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) was held in Seoul on September 21, 2000. ROK Minister of National Defense Cho Seong Tae and US Secretary of Defense William Cohen led their respective delegations, which included senior defense and foreign affairs officials. Before the SCM, the Chairmen of the respective Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Cho Yung Kil and General Henry Shelton, presided over the 22nd ROK-US Military Committee Meeting (MCM) on September 20.

2. Minister Cho and Secretary Cohen reviewed the current security situation in and around the Korean Peninsula and assessed the positive developments that have been taking place on the Korean Peninsula since the historic inter-Korean summit meeting held in Pyongyang from June 13 to 15. Both Ministers hoped that active implementation of the South-North Joint Declaration of June 15 would lead to broad cooperation and a fundamental reduction of tensions on the Peninsula. In this regard, Secretary Cohen welcomed the decision to hold an inter-Korean Defense Ministers' meeting, and the two Ministers hoped that a substantial discussion regarding military confidence-building measures would take place there. Both Ministers reaffirmed that they would maintain close policy coordination toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) in order to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

3. The two Ministers shared the view that the inter-Korean summit meeting was the result of four factors: a) the engagement policy towards North Korea, which has been consistently pursued by the Republic of Korea and the United States; b) a strong ROK-US security alliance; c) close ROK-Japan-US trilateral coordination; and d) support by the international community.

4. Minister Cho and Secretary Cohen reaffirmed the importance of full implementation of the 1992 Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the Agreed Framework of 1994, and North Korea's responsibilities under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and associated safeguards agreement. With regard to the suspect underground site at Kumchang-ri in North Korea, the two Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the prompt completion of the second visit there, which confirmed the conclusion of the first visit in May 1999 that the facility did not violate the Agreed Framework.

5. The two Ministers concurred that measures such as the reunion of separated families, the continued dialogue between South and North Korean authorities, inter-Korean economic cooperation, and the reduction of loudspeaker denunciations along the DMZ have created a positive environment for inter-Korean reconciliation. However, they noted that North Korea's chemical, biological, nuclear, and long-range missile programs continue to pose a threat to ROK, U.S. and regional security. They urged North Korea to abide by international conventions banning the production, possession, and use of these weapons. The two Ministers emphasized the need for North Korea to take substantial and verifiable measures to reduce military tensions and support the positive environment created by recent inter-Korean dialogue and diplomatic progress between North Korea and other countries.

6. Both Ministers welcomed the efforts by the U.S. and North Korea to hold bilateral talks on matters such as nuclear nonproliferation, missiles, and terrorism. They also took positive note of the first meeting between the U.S. Secretary of State and the North Korean Foreign Minister, held at the ASEAN Region Forum (ARF) in July 2000. In particular, the two Ministers welcomed North Korea's reaffirmation in June 2000 of its missile testing moratorium and the resumption of US-DPRK missile talks. They also hoped that the U.S. and North Korea would resolve issues of mutual interest through dialogue, leading to the improvement and development of their bilateral relationship.

7. Minister Cho and Secretary Cohen shared the view that the Four Party Talks are a valuable forum for the reduction of tensions and establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Both Ministers expect that the recent developments in inter-Korean relations and US-DPRK relations will result in a resumption of the Four Party Talks. Both Ministers reaffirmed that the Military Armistice Agreement of 1953 remains valid and should be observed until superceded by a permanent peace regime.

8. Minister Cho and Secretary Cohen agreed that the ROK-US security alliance is stronger than ever and that combined defense readiness should be steadfastly maintained to deter a wide range of possible threats and to reinforce engagement with the North. Secretary Cohen reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to render prompt and effective assistance to the ROK in deterring and repelling any armed attack against the ROK, in accordance with the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty. The U.S. also reaffirmed its commitment to provide a nuclear umbrella for the ROK. The two Ministers agreed that in case of an emergency on the Korean peninsula, the ROK and the U.S. would closely cooperate in dealing with the situation. In this regard, they discussed several practical steps, including the timely deployment of U.S. reinforcements in an emergency. Both Ministers shared the view that combined training and exercises are crucial in deterring war on the Korean Peninsula and enhancing combined readiness.

9. Minister Cho and Secretary Cohen reaffirmed that the ROK-US security alliance plays a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The two Ministers expressed their belief that the alliance will serve to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole even after the immediate threat to stability has receded on the Korean Peninsula. They also agreed that the two countries would most effectively promote their common values and interests by maintaining their bilateral security alliance for the long term, while adapting it to changing circumstances. In this regard, the two Ministers agreed to continue their joint efforts for the long-term development of ROK-US security relations in the 21st century.

10. The two Ministers appreciated their two governments' joint efforts through the Bilateral Coordination Group to establish the facts of what happened at Nogun-ri and agreed to continue these efforts. Both also noted that the Nogun-ri incident will not undermine the close bilateral cooperation based upon trust and friendship built through fifty years of partnership. In that regard, both Ministers agreed that the process of establishing the facts of what happened at Nogun-ri should be thorough, complete, and transparent, and should be concluded as quickly as possible.

11. Minister Cho and Secretary Cohen expressed their satisfaction that the negotiations to revise the SOFA had resumed in Seoul in August 2000 and that the ROK and the U.S. agreed to revise the SOFA as soon as possible. The two Ministers concurred that the revision of the SOFA, taking both sides' interests into full account, will positively contribute to the long-term strength of the ROK-US alliance, and they agreed to make active efforts for completing the SOFA revision process as expeditiously as possible.

12. The two Ministers also agreed that the issue of adopting the ROK's new missile guidelines should be resolved as soon as possible in accordance with Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines.

13. Secretary Cohen announced that he had given authority to United States Forces Korea to begin work with the Korean Government on the development of a Land Partnership Plan. While recognizing the need for cooperation on this plan, and for balancing the desires of the Korean public and the training needs of U.S. Forces Korea, the two Ministers agreed to fully discuss the detailed plan between USFK and the Korean Government. The plan seeks to consolidate U.S. units and installations through a small number of new land grants and the return of a substantial amount of the land currently used by U.S. forces stationed in the ROK.

14. Minister Cho and Secretary Cohen acknowledged the important contributions of the SCM subcommittees on policy review, logistics cooperation, security cooperation, and defense technology and industry cooperation in facilitating consultations on, and resolution of, issues between the two Ministries.

15. The two delegations agreed that the 32nd SCM and the 22nd MCM provided an excellent opportunity to further solidify the ROK-US security alliance and address issues related to their current and future security relationship. Minister Cho and Secretary Cohen agreed to maintain close consultations and to hold the next SCM at a mutually convenient time in 2001 in Washington, D.C.

16. Secretary Cohen expressed his gratitude to Minister Cho for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to the U.S. delegation and also for the excellent arrangements that made this meeting such a success.

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