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Joint Press Statement on Nuclear Consultative Group Meeting

The second U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) convened in Washington D.C. on December 15, 2023. Established to implement President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and President Yoon Suk Yeol’s Washington Declaration, the NCG is an enduring bilateral consultative body to strengthen the U.S.-ROK Alliance and enhance extended deterrence on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. 

The meeting was convened by Mr. Maher Bitar, Coordinator for Intelligence and Defense Policy at the U.S. National Security Council (NSC), and Dr. Kim Tae-hyo, Principal Deputy National Security Advisor of the ROK. Discussions were led by Dr. Vipin Narang, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, and Dr. Heo Tae-keun, Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy of the ROK. ROK and U.S. officials from the NSC, and relevant defense, foreign affairs, intelligence, and military agencies also took part in the meeting.

The United States reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to provide extended deterrence to the ROK, backed by the full range of U.S. capabilities including nuclear. Any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies is unacceptable and will result in the end of the Kim regime, and the U.S. side reiterated that any nuclear attack by the DPRK against the ROK will be met with a swift, overwhelming, and decisive response.

During this NCG meeting, the first hosted in the United States, both sides acknowledged that U.S. and ROK nuclear deterrence cooperation has deepened as progress has been achieved since the first NCG meeting in July through frequent meetings of the NCG working Group (WG) on NCG workstreams, including on guidelines; security and information sharing protocols; nuclear consultation processes in crises and contingencies; nuclear and strategic planning; U.S.-ROK conventional and nuclear integration (CNI); strategic communications; exercises, simulations, training, and investment activities; and risk reduction practices. NCG Principals also commended the holding of an Extended Nuclear Deterrence Immersion Course this November, which was provided for officials from across the ROK interagency, and the substantive interagency cooperation being practiced through the NCG.

NCG Principals reviewed the enhanced visibility of strategic assets to bolster extended deterrence, including the ballistic missile submarine the USS KENTUCKY port visit to Busan in July, B-52 strategic bomber flyover and landing on the Korean Peninsula in October, and joint observation of an ICBM test launch in November, as well as discussing future plans to demonstrate a strengthening of deterrence.

NCG Principals approved the proposed work plan and prospective key events for the first half of 2024, underscored their commitment to securing substantive progress in an expedited manner, and will report relevant progress on the NCG workstreams and other efforts to their respective commanders-in-chief.

The third principal-level NCG will be convened in Korea next summer. 



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December 2023

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