On June 27, James Zumwalt, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, gave testimony on the current state and future prospects for the US-South Korea alliance. The testimony, given to a joint hearing by the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, touched on the many facets of the relationship. Mr. Zumwalt described the alliance as a “linchpin of security and prosperity in Northeast Asia.” He went on to highlight the depth and breadth of US-ROK ties, as they encompass far more than just a strategic military partnership.
At the same hearing, Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, also gave brief remarks on the status of negotiations between the US and South Korea on a successor to the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (or 123 Agreement), currently set to expire in March of next year. A full transcript of Mr. Zumwalt’s remarks can be read here and Mr. Countryman’s here, and full video of the entire session, as well as clips of the opening statements and questions given by the chairmen of the two subcommittees can be watched here. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the US-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty, as well as 60 years since the armistice that brought an end to hostilities in the Korean War.