Korea, US Summit To Be Topped By Nuclear-Armed Sub Agreement

United States President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will sign an agreement to send nuclear-armed US submarines to South Korea during a highly anticipated White House summit, according to US officials.

The agreement is set to be announced on Wednesday as the two leaders meet in Washington, DC to mark the two countries’ 70-year alliance. Yoon is only the second leader, after France’s Emmanuel Macron, to be hosted by Biden in an official state visit at the White House since the US president took office in 2021.

“As our troops say, who still proudly serve together in (South Korea) to this day: ‘We go together.’ May we continue that refrain of the Republic of Korea and the United States for all the days ahead,” said Biden.

The “ROK-US alliance is a just alliance, it is a global alliance for the freedom, peace and prosperity around the world,” said Yoon.

The submarine deployments will be a major component of a wider strategy aimed at deterring North Korea from carrying out an attack on its neighbour, three Biden administration senior officials told reporters on the condition of anonymity ahead of the meeting.

That plan, dubbed the “Washington Declaration”, will be announced as North Korea’s increased pace of ballistic missile testing – and apparent recent breakthrough – have heightened anxieties among the US and its regional allies.

The deployment of nuclear-armed submarines to the Korean Peninsula “has not happened since the early 1980s”, one senior official told reporters, adding they would be among an array of “strategic assets” that would be regularly deployed to South Korea “to make our deterrence more visible”.

That would include a “regular cadence” of other major platforms, “including bombers or aircraft carriers,” the official said.

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