(ATTN: UPDATES with South Korean presidential official's comments)
By Byun Duk-kun and Lee Haye-ah
WASHINGTON, April 24 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Yoon Suk Yeol, will announce "major deliverables" on ways to strengthen the United States' extended deterrence commitment to South Korea when they meet this week, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday.
The leaders are set to hold a bilateral summit at the White House on Wednesday. Yoon is currently on a state visit to the U.S.
"On Wednesday, President Biden and President Yoon will announce major deliverables on extended deterrence, on cyber cooperation, on climate mitigation, on foreign assistance, on investment and on strengthening our people-to-people ties," Sullivan told a White House press briefing.
Yoon's visit comes amid intensifying North Korean provocations and nuclear rhetoric.
Pyongyang launched a record 69 ballistic missiles in 2022, followed by dozens of missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), fired since the start of this year.
"President Biden will reinforce and enhance our extended deterrence commitments to South Korea with respect to the threat the DPRK poses," said Sullivan, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"We will have the presidents, the two presidents actually release a statement that deals with the question of extended deterrence, particularly in the context of the threat and the evolving threat posed by the DPRK," he added.
The statement, according to Sullivan, will send a "very clear and demonstrable signal of the United States' credibility when it comes to its extended deterrence commitments to the Republic of Korea and to the people of Korea."
The Republic of Korea is South Korea's formal name.
He, however, suggested that the U.S. will clearly oppose the idea of South Korea developing its own nuclear weapons when asked, saying, "We also believe that the ROK has been a good steward of its non-proliferation obligations under the (Non-Proliferation Treaty) and will continue to do so."
South Korea's presidential office confirmed the plan for a separate statement.
The two leaders are expected to discuss "more effective, strengthened extended deterrence measures" to ease the South Korean people's concerns over North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile capabilities, a senior presidential official told reporters in Washington.
The official declined to give further details, saying the wording of the statement is still being discussed.
The summit, which comes during the 70th anniversary of the ROK-U.S. alliance, will also focus on expanding economic and trade ties.
"Our economic and people-to-people ties will be front and center on this visit," Sullivan told the press briefing. "During the Biden administration alone, just in the last two plus years, the Republic of Korea has invested over US$100 billion in the United States that is translating to jobs across this country."
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