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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 619-02
December 05, 2002

KOREA-U.S. SECURITY CONSULTATIVE MEETING JOINT COMMUNIQU

The following is the text of a joint communiqu issued in Washington today by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Lee Jun:

1. The 34th Republic of Korea (ROK)-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) was held in Washington, D.C. on December 5, 2002. ROK Minister of National Defense Lee Jun and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 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 Lee Nam Shin and General Richard B. Myers, presided over the 24th ROK-U.S. Military Committee Meeting (MCM) on December 4, 2002.

2. Minister Lee reaffirmed his government's continued support for Operation Enduring Freedom and the global war on terrorism. Secretary Rumsfeld thanked Minister Lee for the Republic of Korea's support. The ROK understands that the U.S. will develop means and take action to protect itself and its allies from terrorist organizations and their state sponsors who might employ weapons of mass destruction and long-range delivery systems. The Secretary and the Minister agreed on the need to rebuild the nation of Afghanistan to prevent it from again becoming a base for terrorism.

3. The Secretary expressed his personal sadness and regret over the tragic death of two young girls last June. He reiterated the U.S. commitment to work closely with the Republic of Korea to prevent training accidents. Minister Lee pledged to work for a more stable stationing environment as well as improving the training conditions for U.S. Forces Korea. The Minister and the Secretary expressed the view that the members of the Alliance need to do a better job of communicating the value of the Alliance to the people of both countries. They agreed to work jointly to address this issue.

4. The Secretary and the Minister assessed the North Korean military threat and the current security situation in and around the Korean Peninsula. Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Lee expressed grave concern about the threat that North Korea continues to pose to U.S. and ROK national interests on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. They praised the ROK and U.S. combined military forces for maintaining a high state of readiness and agreed that their allied military capability has never been stronger. Secretary Rumsfeld reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK and to the provision of a nuclear umbrella for the ROK. The Secretary and the Minister agreed on the need to take advantage of advances in military art and science to transform the combined defense of the ROK.

5. Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Lee agreed that North Korea's acknowledgement that it is pursuing a program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons threatens regional and international security, and violates the Agreed Framework, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Agreement, and the Joint North-South Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Minister Lee and Secretary Rumsfeld called upon North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in a prompt and verifiable fashion and to abide by all its international obligations. They reaffirmed their determination to work together for a peaceful resolution of this problem. The Secretary and the Minister agreed that to eliminate the North Korean nuclear threat diplomatically requires allied solidarity backed by a strong deterrent.

6. The Secretary and the Minister agreed North Korea poses a global threat to our common interests. Despite its moribund economy and malnourished population, North Korea continues to develop and export major weapons systems. Secretary Rumsfeld highlighted the conventional threat to the South posed by the North's massive concentration of artillery along the Demilitarized Zone.

7. The two sides called on North Korea to cease testing, developing, deploying, and exporting missiles and related technology and know-how. Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Lee reaffirmed that North Korean use of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, would have the gravest consequences.

8. Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Lee shared the view that consistent inter-Korean engagement for reconciliation is essential for peace and stability on the Peninsula. Both agreed on the crucial role of the Armistice Agreement in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

9. Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Lee agreed on the need to continue to maintain a U.S. troop presence on the Korean Peninsula and concurred that the alliance will serve to bolster peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. The Secretary and the Minister agreed on the importance of adapting the alliance to changes in the global security environment. Accordingly, they have established a Future of the Alliance Policy Initiative, in which the two countries will conduct policy-level discussions to develop options for modernizing and strengthening the alliance.

10. The Secretary reaffirmed the goal of consolidating the U.S. force presence in Korea to enhance force protection, improve readiness, increase efficient use and balanced development of ROK land, and provide the basis for an enduring force structure for U.S. forces in Korea. The Secretary and the Minister agreed on the need to find a mutually acceptable way to relocate U.S. forces outside the city of Seoul.

11. Minister Lee conveyed his government's keen interest in improving the implementation of the Status of Forces Agreement and Secretary Rumsfeld listened carefully to Minister Lee's explanation.

12. The two delegations agreed that the 34th SCM and the 24th MCM provided an excellent opportunity to further solidify the ROK-U.S. security alliance and address issues related to the current and future security relationship.

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