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Washington Declaration


Source: TH

 Context: South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visited the U.S. on April 25 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of U.S.-South Korea bilateral relations. During the visit, the two countries signed the “Washington Declaration,” which focuses on nuclear deterrence strategy.


About Washington Declaration:

Dimension Description
Purpose The Washington Declaration is an agreement signed between the United States and South Korea, outlining a joint nuclear deterrence strategy.
Measures The declaration specifies several measures that the two countries will take in cooperation towards deterrence, including:

·        Deployment of an American nuclear ballistic submarine in the Korean peninsula

·        Formation of a nuclear consultative group to formulate principles of joint response tactics

·        Strengthening of South Korea’s nuclear deterrence capabilities

Non-proliferation The declaration reaffirms that South Korea would not make its own nuclear capabilities and would instead focus on deterrence measures through an alliance-based approach.
Nuclear Consultative Group The declaration makes it possible for the US and South Korea to establish a Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) similar to the one that exists between the US and NATO. Through this group, South Korea can have more control over nuclear response planning and coordination, although the nuclear weapons will be under the exclusive control of the US.
Authority The declaration mandates the U.S. President as the only ‘sole authority’ to use the nuclear arsenal of the U.S. in the event of a nuclear confrontation.
Criticisms of the Declaration The Washington Declaration (WD) has been criticized for not achieving anything substantial and only reiterating what was already inherent in the US-South Korea alliance. China and North Korea have criticized the agreement.
Significance for India While India is not a direct participant in this agreement, the Washington Declaration reinforces the US commitment to its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific, including India, and could strengthen the Quad alliance.