President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed their position on Nov. 13 that if North Korea uses nuclear weapons in any form, South Korea and the U.S. will "respond with overwhelming force using all available means."
President Yoon met U.S. President Biden in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and held a 50-minute summit between South Korea and the U.S.
In the summit, President Yoon said, "It is nice to meet President Biden again in Phnom Penh less than two months after the visit to New York," adding, "The Korea-U.S. alliance has become the most reliable compass for us, facing various new challenges at the inflection point of international order."
The two leaders reached the agreement on the sidelines of regional gatherings amid heightened tensions in the wake of North Korea's unprecedented provocations and concerns that the North could conduct its seventh nuclear test.
"They shared their growing concern over North Korea's recent unprecedented and aggressive provocations, and agreed to maintain and strengthen the seamless coordination and firm combined defense posture between South Korea and the U.S," the Presidential office said in a press release.
"The two leaders also reaffirmed that if North Korea use nuclear weapons in any form, South Korea and the United States will respond with overwhelming force using all available means," it said.
The summit came amid heightened tensions following North Korea's barrage of weapons tests, including a failed test of an intercontinental ballistic missile and its first launch of a ballistic missile over Japan in five years.
Emphasizing the need to demonstrate to the North that it has nothing to gain from its nuclear and missile programs, President Yoon stressed the necessity to strengthen the U.S. extended deterrence commitment to South Korea in a practical and bold way against North Korea's advancing nuclear capabilities.
President Yoon also expressed South Korea's concerns about the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which gives tax credits only to electric vehicles assembled in North America, raising concerns it could act as a trade barrier for South Korean auto companies.
“In response, President Biden said South Korean businesses contribute greatly to the U.S. economy in areas including autos and electric batteries, and that the IRA's implementation should be discussed in consideration of that," the Presidential office said.
The summit lasted 50 minutes, which was 20 minutes longer than scheduled, and also covered the allies' cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
The two leaders agreed to meet again in Washington next year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the alliance. President Yoon also congratulated Biden on the upcoming wedding of his granddaughter, and the U.S. president expressed his special thanks.
On Nov. 12, meanwhile, President Yoon had a short talk with the leaders of the U.S. and Japan at a gala dinner hosted by Cambodia, the chair of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), on the night of Nov. 12.
President Yoon, dressed in traditional Cambodian clothes, greeted U.S. President Biden, who arrived at the dinner hall at the International Convention Center in Phnom Penh, according to the President's office, in a written briefing on Nov. 13.
The leaders of South Korea and the U.S., who last met in New York, where the U.N. General Assembly was held in late September, asked each other how they were doing and took a commemorative photo. First Lady Kim Gun-hee was also accompanied.