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NEWS | Nov. 15, 2023

Republic of Korea and United Nations Command Member States Defense Ministerial Meeting Joint Statement

U.S. Department of Defense

The Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Shin Wonsik hosted the "Republic of Korea - United Nations Command Member States Defense Ministerial Meeting" in Seoul on November 14, 2023. Defense ministers and representatives from 17 United Nations Command (UNC)Member States participated, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, and the United States (U.S.).

The meeting was held at the invitation of the ROK Ministry of National Defense in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Armistice Agreement signed on July 27, 1953. For the first time, defense ministers and representatives from all the UNC Member States and the host nation of the ROK convened in Seoul to discuss matters related to security on the Korean Peninsula.

During the meeting, the defense ministers and representatives discussed the continuing role of the UNC in fulfilling its mandates under United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the 1953 Armistice Agreement. 

Furthermore, the leaders reminded the international community that the UNC defended the ROK during the Korean War by successfully integrating many nations together and commanding the combat and support forces voluntarily sent by the United Nations Member States to defend the ROK from armed attacks by the DPRK.

The UNC Member States reaffirmed that the promise and spirit of the 1953 Armistice Agreement continues to be necessary for the protection of peace and democracy on the Korean Peninsula today as it was in the past.

In particular, the defense ministers and representatives recognized the function of all Member States and the host nation of the ROK in managing, implementing, and enforcing the terms of Armistice. They recognized the utility of the Armistice in providing mechanisms for preserving the cessation of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula. 

In doing so, the defense ministers and representatives discussed ongoing security challenges. They strongly condemned the DPRK's unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs which violate multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions. The leaders emphasized the important role that the international community plays in ensuring the full implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to the DPRK's UNSCR-prohibited programs, as well as the DPRK's responsibility to cease any unlawful behavior. They also discussed the utility and necessity of dialogue as the path to an enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The UNC Member States declared that they will be united upon any renewal of hostilities or armed attack on the Korean Peninsula challenging the principles of the United Nations and the security of the Republic of Korea.

In managing persistent security challenges, the defense ministers and representatives determined to continue increasing mutual exchange and cooperation between the ROK-U.S. Alliance and UNC Member States to inform our combined training and exercises.

ROK Minister of National Defense Shin Wonsik, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Australia Minister of Defense Industry, Thailand Chief of Defense Forces, Philippines Undersecretary for Capability Assessment and Development, ambassadors from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, and South Africa political counsellor paid their respects to the noble sacrifice of the UNC Member States' veterans who protected the ROK from armed aggression during the Korean War and fought 'Under One Flag' to restore international peace. 

The participating defense ministers and representatives assessed that the UNC has effectively contributed to deterring war on the Korean Peninsula for the past 70 years. They expressed their gratitude to the leadership of Minister Shin for providing the meaningful opportunity to strengthen cooperation and solidarity in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Armistice Agreement.

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