WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense (MND) held the 19th Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) May 12-13, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, Mr. David Helvey, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for East Asia, Dr. Siddharth Mohandas, led the U.S. delegation. The ROK delegation was led by Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy (DEPMIN), Mr. Kim Mangi. Key U.S and ROK defense and foreign affairs officials also participated.
During the KIDD, both sides reaffirmed a shared goal of achieving the complete denuclearization of, and lasting peace on, the Korean Peninsula and pledged that U.S. and ROK combined forces would remain ready and postured to defend the ROK. Additionally, they affirmed the importance of full implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions by the international community, including North Korea. The two sides also concurred that continued enforcement and management of the Armistice Agreement by the United Nations Command (UNC), and implementation of the inter-Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement contributed to stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The U.S. and ROK sides noted the significant strides made on the transition of wartime Operational Control (OPCON) to the Future Combined Forces Command (F-CFC) and reaffirmed their mutual commitment to the Conditions-based OPCON Transition Plan (COTP). As part of this, the U.S. and ROK delegations pledged to continue efforts to comprehensively conduct a joint study on the COTP capabilities, solidify bridging and enduring capabilities, and also discussed the way forward for wartime OPCON transition to the F-CFC, including the future certification assessment for Full Operational Capability (FOC). The two sides agreed that the conditions stated in the mutually agreed COTP must be fully met before the wartime OPCON is transitioned to the F-CFC. The ROK also noted that it will acquire and develop critical military capabilities and committed to robust discussions on ROK acquisition planning.
Both sides reaffirmed that the U.S.-ROK Alliance remains the linchpin of peace and security in Northeast Asia, as well as the Korean Peninsula, and further expressed their commitment to maintaining the rules-based, international order, and pursuing cooperation between the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ROK New Southern Policy. DASD Mohandas and DEPMIN Kim underscored the importance of maintaining a combined defense posture that is ready to “fight tonight,” and they reiterated the importance of maintaining joint readiness against all shared threats to the Alliance through combined training and exercises. Both sides also concurred on the importance of establishing stable access to training facilities, resources, and other sites critical to the combined defense posture and pledged to deepen cooperation in various fields, including defense security cooperation, space policy, and cooperation on capacity building in Southeast Asia.
Furthermore, the two sides affirmed a continued commitment to trilateral security cooperation, and committed to seek a near-term trilateral ministerial to enhance cooperation.
Both sides shared assessments on recent North Korean nuclear and missile threats, and pledged to monitor the North Korea situation while closely coordinating. The U.S. reaffirmed its continued commitment to provide extended deterrence using the full range of U.S. capabilities, including nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities. The ROK committed to continue to acquire military capabilities to strengthen holistic Alliance readiness in response to North Korean nuclear and missile threats.
Finally, both sides assessed that the 19th KIDD reaffirmed the close bonds of the Alliance, bolstered bilateral coordination toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and strengthened U.S.-ROK combined defense posture. The U.S. DoD and the ROK MND will hold the 20th KIDD in Seoul, Republic of Korea, at a mutually appropriate time in the second half of 2021.