The United States and South Korea have agreed to “develop cooperation in overseas nuclear markets, including joint participation in nuclear power plant projects, while ensuring the highest standards of international nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation are maintained,” according to a statement from the White House on last week’s Washington meeting between President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
As part of that agreement, South Korea will adopt a common policy with the United States requiring recipient countries to have a safeguards agreement “Additional Protocol” in place as a condition of doing nuclear-related business. (The Additional Protocol is an expanded set of requirements for information and access to assist the International Atomic Energy Agency in its work to confirm that states are using nuclear material solely for peaceful purposes.)
Washington and Seoul committed to other joint actions at the May 21 meeting, including in areas such as climate change, clean energy, global health, space exploration, cybersecurity, and quantum computing.
From the statement: “The two sides reaffirm that close coordination on all matters related to global nonproliferation and safe, secure, and safeguarded uses of nuclear technology remain key characteristics of the alliance, and the United States recognizes [South Korea’s] global role in promoting nonproliferation efforts. Following consultations with the United States, [South Korea] announces the termination of its Revised Missile Guidelines, and the presidents acknowledged the decision.” (The guidelines agreement had limited the range of South Korean ballistic missiles to 88 kilometers.)
In addition, the joint statement emphasized Biden and Moon’s commitment to “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and their intent to address North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”