President Donald J. Trump’s State Visit to the Republic of Korea
On November 7-8, President Donald J. Trump made the first state visit to the Republic of Korea by a United States President in 25 years. The President participated in an official state dinner at the Cheongwadae and his third bilateral summit with Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in, addressed the National Assembly, and met with American and South Korean military service members. President Trump laid a wreath at the National Cemetery honoring those South Koreans who gave their lives to defend and support their country during the Korean War and reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of the United States to the Republic of Korea’s defense. President Trump highlighted that the United States-Republic of Korea Alliance, built upon mutual trust and shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, remains a linchpin for security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. The two leaders stressed the Alliance had matured over more than six decades into a multi-pillared relationship including security cooperation, economic partnership, people-to-people ties, and global leadership.
President Trump and President Moon pledged to maintain close consultation, coordination, and cooperation on North Korea policy. The two presidents urged North Korea to abandon its illicit weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, which deepen its diplomatic isolation and economic hardship. The two presidents affirmed their full support and commitment to the coordinated global pressure to bring North Korea back to authentic and credible denuclearization talks. The two leaders noted that North Korea now poses a threat to the entire world and committed to faithfully and thoroughly implement all relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions, including 2371 and 2375. President Trump welcomed President Moon’s recent efforts to harmonize sanctions designations by the Republic of Korea and the United States. President Trump emphasized that his top priority is protecting the United States and our allies against North Korean aggression, and remains prepared to use the full range of United States military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, to defend against the growing threat from North Korea. President Trump and President Moon committed on the need for China to exert its unique leverage to make a diplomatic solution possible. President Trump and President Moon discussed North Korea’s malicious cyber activities and emphasized efforts to enhance cyber cooperation, including through the United States-Republic of Korea Cyber Dialogue. The two presidents condemned North Korea’s egregious human rights record and committed to continue to compelling North Korea to respect its people’s human rights, including through cooperation with international organizations. President Trump and President Moon reaffirmed that the United States and Republic of Korea stand ready to support a brighter future for North Korea if it chooses the right path.
Defense Measures and Foreign Military Sales: In response to the North Korea threat, President Trump and President Moon decided to further strengthen the United States-Republic of Korea Alliance defensive posture and capabilities through the acquisition of advanced military equipment and the enhanced deployment of United States strategic military assets in and around the Republic on a rotational basis.
- President Trump and President Moon acknowledged the desire for equitable cost sharing of United States military forces stationed in the Republic of Korea and noted the more than $9 billion contribution from the Republic of Korea to the Camp Humphreys expansion. The two leaders intend to continue to strengthen the Alliance’s combined defense posture and capabilities, including through defense cost-sharing measures in the upcoming Special Measures Agreement discussions.
- President Trump acknowledged the Republic of Korea’s adoption of its Revised Missile Guidelines 2017 to remove payload restrictions on Republic of Korea ballistic missiles to combat the nature of the North Korean threat. President Trump highlighted the successful Alliance deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system.
- President Trump and President Moon reiterated their intent to boost trilateral security cooperation with Japan for enhanced deterrence and defense against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. The two leaders committed to continue trilateral exercises on missile warning and anti-submarine warfare, as well as to expand information sharing and to enhance joint response capabilities against the North Korean threat. President Trump and President Moon noted that in an effort to modernize the military, and in part to meet the Alliance’s operational requirements, the Republic of Korea made more than $13 billion in military purchases over the past three years from the United States through the Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales systems.
- President Moon shared his plan to substantially increase defense spending by 2022, which will help cover the Republic of Korea’s financial commitments made by past administrations to major United States origin programs such as F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, KF-16 Fighter Jets upgrade, Patriot PAC-3 ballistic missile defense upgrade, AH-64E Apache heavy attack helicopter, Global Hawk high-altitude UAV, and AEGIS combat systems. President Trump reaffirmed his support for the Republic of Korea’s acquisition and development of highly advanced military assets, including advanced reconnaissance systems.
Economics, Trade, and Investment: President Trump and President Moon affirmed the importance of strengthening United States-Republic of Korea economic, trade, and investment ties. President Trump underscored the need to rebalance KORUS FTA in order to reduce the substantial United States trade deficit with the Republic of Korea and to achieve more expanded, balanced and reciprocal trade. President Trump and President Moon instructed their trade officials to conclude an improved agreement expeditiously.
- During the President’s visit to the Republic of Korea, at the Republic of Korea Chamber of Commerce Business Roundtable on November 8, 42 ROK companies announced their intent to implement 64 projects in the United States over the next four years (2017-2021) valued at $17.3 billion. Twenty-four South Korean companies announced planned purchases of U.S. goods and services valued at $57.5 billion, to include $22.8 billion in energy purchases.
- Republic of Korea foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States has nearly doubled since 2011 from $19.7 billion to $38.8 billion in 2016 – making the ROK the second largest Asian source of foreign direct investment into the United States. ROK firms support nearly 52,000 U.S. jobs. According to the announcements made by Korean firms concerned, major recent investments by South Korean firms include: $3.1 billion by Lotte Chemical to build a petrochemical facility in Louisiana; $800 million by Hankook Tire to build a new factory in Clarksville, Tennessee, employing 1,800 people; and $370 million by SK in Texas in the manufacturing of ethylene acrylic acid.
- Additional planned investments announced recently include $300 million by LG Electronics for a new facility in New Jersey by 2019, and new investments in major research and development facilities by Samsung and others in California and expansion of Samsung’s semiconductor fabrication facility in Austin, Texas, making it the largest single foreign investment in the United States.
Global Partnership: President Trump and President Moon affirmed that United States-Republic of Korea cooperation on global issues is an indispensable and expanding aspect of our Alliance and decided to advance future-oriented cooperation through high-level consultations in the areas of energy, science and technology, space, environment, and health. They announced a new Partnership in Energy Security, Health Security, and Women’s Economic Empowerment.
- The United States and Republic of Korea support universal access to affordable and reliable energy, which supports job creation, enhances security, and promotes economic growth. The Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. that establishes a cooperative framework for the development of Alaska’s natural gas infrastructure. KOGAS also signed an MOU with Lake Charles LNG Export Company, LLC, to review a potential liquefaction project. The Republic of Korea’s SK Group signed a long-term agreement with Continental Resources to develop Oklahoma’s unconventional hydrocarbon fields that could lead to new exports of American energy.
- Both countries committed to continue demonstrating leadership within the Global Health Security Agenda and each country recognized the benefits of combining efforts to combat the spread of infectious diseases, conduct joint research, and share information and best practices.
- The two countries committed to working together to support the important economic role that women play in their societies, including launching an initiative to promote women’s entrepreneurship and women in STEM, both domestically and in developing countries.
- President Trump and President Moon decided to convene a multilateral, non-military regional dialogue on disaster management planning and support efforts in U.N. peacekeeping operations, the refugee crisis and other humanitarian crises, Afghanistan, Syria, counterpiracy, and counter terrorism and violent extremism.
- President Trump congratulated President Moon on the upcoming February 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, and highlighted United States support for a successful Olympic Games.
- President Trump expressed his appreciation for President Moon’s hospitality during his visit to the Republic of Korea. The two leaders stated that they look forward to meeting again to continue close coordination on North Korea and other important bilateral issues at a mutually convenient time.