The White House’s Rose Garden served as the setting for Yoon Suk-yeol’s and Joe Biden Washington Declaration announcement. This nuclear agreement was made to confront a growing danger from North Korea and will see a US submarine moored in South Korea. But will it be effective as a deterrent?
A crucial nuclear agreement was reached between South Korea and the United States amid goodwill and the sound of Don McLean’s “American Pie” playing loudly at the White House. Yoon Suk-yeol, the president of South Korea, struck a historic agreement with Joe Biden that would see the normal deployment of a nuclear submarine to Seoul before singing the well-known American song at a state dinner.
The agreement, sometimes known as the “Washington Declaration,” consists of a number of measures aimed at reassuring Seoul that the United States would retaliate vehemently in the event that Pyongyang launched a nuclear attack.
At the Washington Declaration’s announcement in the Rose Garden with Yoon, Joe Biden said, “A nuclear assault by North Korea against the United States or its friends or partners is unacceptable and will lead to the end of whichever regime takes such an action.
Here’s a closer look at the reasons South Korea and the US signed this agreement and how it affects regional politics.
The Washington Declaration is what?
The Washington Declaration is a collection of efforts designed to tackle the North Korean nuclear threat by using more belligerent language and a new set of deterrence tactics.
It is common knowledge that Pyongyang has been increasing the number of tactical nuclear weapons in its arsenal and that its leader, Kim Jong-un, has pushed his nuclear experts to produce more material suitable for use in warheads. Experts claim that these weapons have the potential to strike South Korea, putting Seoul in danger.
According to the Washington Declaration, the US would dispatch a nuclear-armed forces submarine to South Korea along with other strategic assets, such as aircraft that can deliver nuclear weapons, for the first time in 40 years. It’s interesting to note that the previous time a US submarine visited the South Korean peninsula was during the Cold War in the 1970s. The US withdrew all of its nuclear harpoohttps://emeaexpress.com/is-the-global-economy-being-destabilised-by-decoupling/ns from the Korean Peninsula in 1991.
According to CNN, the submarine that will be deployed is an Ohio-class “boomer,” which can submerge to an expatriation of more than 18,000 tonnes and is powered by a single nuclear reactor.
The submarine is intended to spend an average of 77 days at sea and then 35 days in harbor for maintenance, according to the American Navy. Each of these submarines is equipped with a max of 20 Trident II ballistic missiles.
With a 7,400-kilometer range, it can reach targets in North Korea from a great distance over the Pacific, Indian, or Arctic oceans.
President Joe Biden emphasised that US nuclear weapons would not be stationed on South Korean soil, which is a crucial point to highlight.
The Washington Declaration calls for the two parties to establish a Nuclear Consultative Group to talk about nuclear planning issues in addition to deploying a nuclear submarine. As a result, the US will now provide Seoul with greater in-depth information about and a voice in US contingency planning to prevent and counter any nuclear danger in the region.
In exchange, South Korea would reaffirm its adherence to the NPT, also known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which forbids nations from creating their own nuclear weapons.
According to Biden, any nuclear strike by North Korea on the South “will be met with a swift, overwhelming and decisive response,” and “the US responsibility to extend deterrence to (South Korea) is backed by the full span of US capabilities, including nuclear.”
“Sustainable consensus on the Korean Peninsula does not happen automatically,” Yoon remarked in response to comments made about the agreement. In the case of a nuclear assault by North Korea, our two nations have decided to have immediate bilateral presidential discussions and pledged to act swiftly, vehemently, and decisively, employing the full weight of the alliance, including the United States’ nuclear weapons.
The advantages of this deal, are they tactical or symbolic?
The Washington Declaration can be seen as a victory for South Korea. This is due to Seoul’s persistent demands that Washington includes Seoul more in the process of deciding how and when to utilize nuclear weapons against North Korea.
It was a “big win” for South Korea to be entangled in nuclear strategy, according to Duyeon Kim of the Centre for a New American Security, who was reported by the BBC. Tabletop drills used to end before Washington decided to deploy nuclear weapons, according to Kim.
The US had previously deemed such material to be too sensitive to disclose, but given the kinds of nuclear spears North Korea is creating, it is crucial to practice and train for this situation.
The expanded involvement that the South Korean administration has requested is provided by this deal, checking the box.
The visit and the new agreement, according to Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Seoul’s Ewha University, “represents a new high-water mark for South Korea- US relations, with the capacity and depth of security, cultural and economic cooperation on full display,” he told AFP.
It also benefits Yoon at home, where he must cope with a nation that is growing uneasy about the US’s commitment to Seoul. In reality, numerous surveys have shown that the adult South Koreans now think their nation should produce its own nuclear weapons. Yoon had previously suggested Seoul might go with this course of action.
The majority of commentators think that the nuclear submarine was more of a symbolic step. Some even argue that docking a ballistic rocket submarine in a port in South Korea would lessen the submarine’s military utility.
South Korea and the US are strategically weakening the stealthiness of the sub, which is its most potent weapon. CNN spoke with Carl Schuster, a retired US Navy captain and the former head of operations at the Joint Intelligence Centre for the US Pacific Command in Hawaii.
Why was this transaction necessary?
The swift development of North Korea’s nuclear programme is the main justification for the Washington Declaration. According to information from the James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, Kim Jong-un’s kingdom conducted an astounding 68 tests in 2022. Ten times more than in 2021, this.
And 2023 has been no different, with Pyongyang continuing to conduct missile tests, leaving the world—and South Korea in particular—wondering if these are mere showpiece exercises or real bomb preparations.