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The 33rd Republic of Korea - U.S. Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) was held in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2001. ROK Minister of National Defense Kim Dong Shin 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, Gen. Lee Nam Shin and Gen. Richard B. Myers, presided over the 23rd ROK-U.S. Military Committee Meeting (MCM) on Nov. 14.
Minister Kim reiterated his government's offer to provide necessary support to the effort of rooting out terrorism in the wake of the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11. Secretary Rumsfeld thanked Minister Kim for the Republic of Korea's support for Operation Enduring Freedom and increasing force protection on the Korean Peninsula in response to the threat of international terrorism. The secretary and the minister agreed that terrorism is a common enemy of mankind and that resolute action is necessary to eradicate it as a threat to the U.S., Korea and the international community as a whole. They reaffirmed the importance of close U.S. and ROK cooperation across the spectrum of anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism activities. The ROK expressed its understanding of the importance of the development by the U.S. of the means 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 minister raised his concerns about the possible threat of terrorism to the success of the World Cup, which the ROK will co-host with Japan in 2002, and the Asian games, which the ROK will host in Pusan in 2002.
The secretary and the minister assessed the North Korean military threat and the current security situation in and around the Korean Peninsula. They praised the ROK and U.S. combined military forces for maintaining a robust security posture. Both sides agreed that their allied military capability has never been stronger and that it continues to serve as a strong deterrent on the Korean Peninsula. Reaffirming the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty, both sides agreed on the need for a close combined response in the event of a contingency on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. also reaffirmed its commitment to provide a nuclear umbrella for the ROK. Secretary Rumsfeld explained that the increased military capability envisioned in the Quadrennial Defense Review would complement the alliance's capability to respond to threats. The two agreed on the need to discuss military transformation plans in order to ensure that the readiness and interoperability of the Combined Forces Command is maintained. Minister Kim and Secretary Rumsfeld acknowledged the important contributions of the SCM subcommittees on policy review, logistics cooperation, security cooperation, and defense technology and industry cooperation.
Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Kim agreed that reconciliation and cooperation between the Republic of Korea and North Korea are critical for lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Secretary Rumsfeld expressed support for the Republic of Korea's policy of engagement with North Korea and conveyed his hope that inter-Korean dialogue and exchanges would lead to fundamental reduction of tensions on the Peninsula. The secretary also expressed his hope that Inter-Korean Defense Ministers' Talks would be resumed at the earliest possible date so that military confidence-building measures would be discussed and implemented in the spirit of the South-North Basic Agreement.
Secretary Rumsfeld reaffirmed the U.S. government's willingness to pursue dialogue with North Korea without preconditions, and Minister Kim expressed his support for the U.S. position. The secretary stressed the importance of North Korea's compliance with international safeguards in accordance with the Agreed Framework. The secretary expressed the view that it was necessary to pursue verifiable restraints on the North Korean missile program and seek a reduction in the North Korean conventional military threat. The secretary and the minister concurred on the importance of close coordination between the ROK and the U.S. in implementing their respective policies toward North Korea.
Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Kim 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. They also agreed that the two countries will promote most effectively 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 secretary and the minister agreed to continue a dialogue on the future of the alliance to ensure that the alliance is able to adapt to changes in the security environment both within Northeast Asia and globally.
The secretary and the minister shared the view that the Land Partnership Plan, which provides for the consolidation of U.S. units and installations, will contribute to enhancing force protection, balanced readiness, efficient use and balanced development of ROK land, and an enduring structure of U.S. forces in Korea. In this regard, they agreed on the need to expedite consultations with a view to finalizing the plan on the basis of the Letter of Intent signed at the SCM.
Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Kim welcomed the newly agreed guidelines for the Special Measures Agreement (SMA). Secretary Rumsfeld expressed his appreciation for the Republic of Korea's increased contribution to help offset the stationing costs of U.S. forces in Korea. The two agreed that the new SMA will demonstrate a shared commitment to maintaining a strong deterrence and a durable alliance on the Korean Peninsula.
The two delegations agreed that the 33rd SCM and the 23rd 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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