April 21, 2020
The Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DoD) held the 17th Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) on April 21, 2020. Due to travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the KIDD was held remotely via secure video teleconferencing. ROK Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy Chung Sukhwan and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for East Asia Heino Klinck led their respective delegations composed of key ROK and U.S. defense officials.
DASD Klinck applauded the Republic of Korea (ROK)'s proactive leadership in combating COVID-19 as a model of transparency, flexibility, and rapid response for the world. He also expressed gratitude for the ROK’s efforts in support of U.S. forces and their families in the ROK. The two sides also acknowledged effective coordination to contain COVID-19.
Both sides assessed the ongoing joint work to conclude the 11th Special Measures Agreement (SMA), emphasizing the importance of concluding the SMA at a fair and mutually agreeable level that strengthens the ROK-U.S. Alliance and its combined defense posture.
Both delegations reviewed the Conditions-Based Operational Control (OPCON) Transition Plan and concurred on the importance of completing and assessing the strategic documents. They also discussed impacts and the way ahead on the certification assessment for the full operational capability (FOC) schedule in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.
Both sides discussed ways to strengthen the Alliance's military readiness and combined defense posture to address the dynamic security changes on the Korean Peninsula and to deepen U.S.-ROK cooperation long into the future.
The two sides also shared assessments on the recent missile launches by North Korea and reaffirmed the importance of continuing close coordination to remain vigilant in the face of North Korean actions. Furthermore, the two sides committed to cooperate closely on achieving the complete denuclearization of North Korea. Both sides pledged to work jointly in 2020 to devise measures to strengthen the deterrence posture of the ROK-U.S. Alliance through the Deterrence Strategy Committee (DSC).
The two sides reaffirmed that the KIDD continues to play a critical role in coordinating defense policies between the ROK and the United States. They also pledged to continue close communication and cooperation to maintain and strengthen the combined readiness posture of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, which serves as the linchpin of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region.