- Ministry News
Minister of Foreign Affairs Delivers Speech on Way Forward for ROK-U.S. Alliance at U.S. Aspen Security Forum
1. Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang, Kyung-wha delivered a keynote speech on the development of the ROK-U.S. alliance and the way forward at the invitation of the Aspen Security Forum at 9 a.m., December 11 (Korea Standard Time).
o At the event broadcast live online, Foreign Minister Kang, following her keynote speech, also had a question-and-answer session with Mr. Nicholas Burns, the moderator of the Forum and Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and Aspen Security Forum (former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs), and the audience for about 45 minutes.
2. In her keynote speech, Foreign Minister Kang said that the ROK-U.S. alliance has successfully undertaken the role of deterring North Korean provocations and keeping stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia and helped to preserve the U.S. lead in safeguarding the liberal international order in the region.
o In addition, Foreign Minister Kang noted that the Korean people and government’s achievement of economic development and democracy is attributed largely to the ironclad commitment of the U.S. to the security of Korea and military assistance, as well as economic aid and technical assistance.
3. Foreign Minister Kang said that with the steady growth in Korea’s national capacity and global profile, Korea has taken on larger responsibilities in bilateral and multilateral relations and accordingly, the ROK-U.S. alliance has become more reciprocal and mutually beneficial.
o She particularly mentioned that Korea’s contribution to the alliance has continued to increase, citing that Korea has joined the U.S. in the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as anti-piracy activities and peacekeeping operations; has shared the costs for U.S. troops stationed in Korea; constructed the U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek; and spends the highest percentage of GDP on defense among allies of the U.S.
o In addition, Foreign Minister Kang stated that the two countries’ economies have become more interdependent and integrated and particularly the ROK-U.S. Free Trade Agreement further solidified the alliance, and that with the increase in the trade volume between the two countries, the economic cooperation has expanded to various areas including ICT, innovative technologies, and energy, while stressing that Korean companies’ investments in the U.S. created 52,000 jobs in the U.S. last year alone.
o Foreign Minister Kang went on to say that based on shared values and common interests, the two countries are forging a new strategic partnership vis-à-vis other countries and regions. She particularly mentioned that the two countries are cooperating with ASEAN countries in a range of areas including development cooperation, infrastructure, energy, and human resources development, while promoting collaboration between Korea’s New Southern Policy and the U.S.’ Indo-Pacific Strategy.
4. Foreign Minister Kang said that there is much room for the ROK-U.S. alliance to continue to strengthen and expand in the service of peace and security, and prosperity in the region and beyond and that the most pressing task facing the alliance is to achieve complete denuclearization and establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
o Foreign Minister Kang noted that the two countries have maintained close cooperation and coordination in tackling the challenges posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missiles development and that the joint efforts have produced milestone agreements between the top leadership of the ROK, the U.S. and North Korea on the shared goal of achieving complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
o Foreign Minister Kang also reaffirmed that the Korean government remains ready to resume dialogue with North Korea and the government’s offer stands of assistance to the North on Covid-19 and humanitarian needs.
o Furthermore, she said that Korea very much looks forward to working with the new U.S. administration to build upon the achievements of the past years and take concrete steps towards realizing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula that is at permanent peace.
5. In addition, Foreign Minister Kang stated that Korea also hopes to join force with the U.S. in dealing with various global issues including public health security, climate change, democracy, science and technology, space, cyber security, non-proliferation, and counter-terrorism.
o Foreign Minister Kang noted that since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two countries have collaborated in many respects, sharing information, providing medical supplies and COVID-19 test kits, and keeping borders to each other. She added that the two countries will be able to spearhead global public health cooperation by combining Korea’s relative success against the pandemic and the U.S.’ global leadership.
o Foreign Minister Kang also said that Korea’s announcement that it will go carbon neutral by 2050 and its Green New Deal are in sync with President-elect Biden’s vision on climate change, and looked forward to the global leadership of the U.S. and bilateral cooperation on the climate change agenda, while asking for the active participation of the U.S. in the P4G Summit to be held in Korea next year.
o Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kang mentioned that Korea has achieved full-blown democracy with the abiding support of the U.S. over the past decades and has also successfully responded to COVID-19 based on the democratic principles of openness, transparency, civic activism, and innovativeness. She added that Korea will be able to contribute to the “Summit for Democracy” initiative that President-elect Biden announced during the campaign.
6. Foreign Minister Kang said that achieving the goal of complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula will require a great deal of focus, patience and nerve, as well as close collaboration with neighboring countries including China, Japan and Russia. She also said that despite the complex situation due to the rivalry between the global powers, she is confident of moving the process forward through close cooperation with the new U.S. administration.
o Furthermore, Foreign Minister Kang affirmed that the Korean government will collaborate closely with the outgoing and incoming U.S. administrations to further advance the ROK-U.S. alliance, mentioning the phone call between President Moon Jae-in and President-elect Biden, the passage of resolutions supporting the alliance at both of the two countries’ legislative bodies, and public support for the bilateral relations.
7. Today’s event held ahead of the launch of the new U.S. administration served as an opportunity for Foreign Minister Kang to highlight the historical achievements and strategic values of the ROK-U.S. alliance and present its way forward and thereby express the Korean government’s commitment to further expanding and strengthening the ROK-U.S. alliance to foreign and security affairs experts in the U.S.