South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee arrived in Washington on Monday for a state visit that will include "major deliverables" on nuclear extended deterrence, according to the White Houe. Photo by Yonhap
SEOUL, April 25 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will unveil a "major" update to the United States' extended nuclear deterrence commitment to its ally during their summit this week, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
"On Wednesday, President Biden and President Yoon will announce major deliverables on extended deterrence, on cyber cooperation, on climate mitigation, on foreign assistance, on investment and on strengthening our people-to-people ties," Sullivan said during a press briefing Monday.
"This visit ... comes at a critical moment as North Korea continues to develop its nuclear and missile capabilities," Sullivan said. "President Biden will reinforce and enhance our extended deterrence commitments to South Korea with respect to the threat the DPRK poses."
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
Yoon arrived in Washington on Monday for a six-day state visit that will include a summit and joint press conference with Biden and an address to Congress, with the North Korean threat high on the agenda.
Pyongyang has conducted weapons tests at an unprecedented pace over the last year and recently launched its first solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, which analysts say could pose new challenges to missile-defense systems.
Seoul and Washington have strengthened defense ties and ramped up joint military exercises since Yoon took office in May of last year. However, questions about the reliability of the U.S. nuclear umbrella are growing in South Korea, with some calling for Seoul to acquire its own nuclear weapons.
The Yoon administration is seeking greater input in the planning and implementation of any nuclear response to North Korea.
Sullivan did not provide specific details of the upcoming announcement on extended deterrence, but said it will send "a very clear and demonstrable signal of the United States' credibility."
The state visit, which will highlight the 70th anniversary of the South Korea-U.S. alliance that emerged in the wake of the 1950-53 Korean War, is also focusing on economic and trade ties around key industries, including semiconductors, batteries and electric vehicles.
Yoon is being accompanied by a delegation of 122 business leaders from South Korea's largest conglomerates, including the heads of Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motors, LG Corp. and chipmaker SK Hynix. The companies are looking to win concessions on contentious areas of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and the Chips and Science Act.
South Korea's cultural clout, which has skyrocketed in recent years with the global rise of K-pop and hit streaming series such as Squid Game, will also be in the spotlight during Yoon's visit, with the president scheduled to meet officials from U.S. media giants such as Paramount, Sony Pictures and the Walt Disney Company.
After his arrival on Monday, Yoon sat down with Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos, who announced a $2.5 billion investment by the streaming platform in South Korea over the next four years.