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The U.S - South Korea ‘Washington Declaration’ summit receives backlash from the public

2023.05.14 04:55:43 Hyukjae Ji

[David Rock. Credit to Pixabay]

On April 27, 2023, the U.S. and South Korea announced the ‘Washington Declaration’ summit, which received backlash from the public as a result of some of the details included in the agreement.

U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met in Washington, marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the two countries.

This meeting was held to not only strengthen the diplomatic relations between both countries, but also to discuss and reach a summit on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

As North Korea continues its development and expansion of its nuclear capabilities, the U.S. and South Korea have agreed to sign the ‘Washington Declaration’ as a response  to North Korea’s ongoing nuclear threat as well as to strategize a tactical plan regarding the U.S. and South Korea’s regimes.

The first method of deterrence in which the U.S. and South Korea plan on employing as a response to   North Korea's nuclear threat  is through the Biden administration’s proposal of nuclear ballistic submarine deployment.

Through  dispatching nuclear missile submarines near South Korean ports, the Biden administration believed that this would show a powerful military presence near the peninsula, ultimately lowering the probability of a  North Korean attack.

The submarines which the U.S. are trying to dispatch are able to submerge into deep levels of water, which means that in the case of an attack on South Korea, the U.S. has an upper hand as they can retaliate from an advantageous position.

However, many people raised the question as to what this means for U.S. and Chinese relations as these stationed submarines are likely to exacerbate tension between the U.S. and China’s national defense force.

These concerns were addressed later that same week by the U.S. administration confirming that they have in fact informed the Chinese government that the deploying of submarines is not related to Chinese matters in any way.

Clarifying the true purpose as to why they are carrying out this project has decreased the level of concern and feelings of unease from the public.

Another topic of matter that was discussed during this meeting was whether or not President Biden would retaliate with nuclear force if North Korea was first to deploy nuclear artillery.

In such an instance, Joe Biden conveyed his willingness to deter all North Korean forces through the use of nuclear weaponry.

These remarks left South Korean citizens with feelings of unrest because if the North Korean government does declare a nuclear war, this means that the U.S. will retaliate back with nuclear force.

Many people pointed out that the moment in which North Korea deploys nuclear force, the entirety of the Korean peninsula would be left in a state of ruin; therefore, people indicated that the U.S. striking back with nuclear weapons would only worsen the entire situation for the peninsula.

Despite this, Biden’s remarks regarding his willingness to support South Korea in deterring North Korea’s nuclear threat has overall strengthened the relations between both countries, with the ‘Washington Declaration’ also contributing to that.

Hyukjae Ji / Grade 10
Gimpo Foreign Language School