Washington Declaration: Beyond Korea, What it Means for India?

Focus Asia June, 2023

In April 2023, South Korea and the United States released the Washington Declaration to reiterate and upgrade their treaty alliance. In outlining a joint nuclear deterrence strategy, the Declaration reaffirmed that South Korea would not pursue independent nuclear capabilities, and instead continue to rely on the alliance-based approach. This paper considers the strategic impact of the Washington Declaration beyond the U.S.-ROK nexus. Highlighting the importance of the agreement on security and stability in the broader Indo-Pacific region, the paper focuses on India’s stake in the new development. In particular, the paper emphasizes that despite its stated focus on the North Korean nuclear threat, the Washington Declaration in fact considers the Chinese and Russian threats in the region, making it of immense interest to India. It analyzes whether and how the Washington Declaration can complement India’s interests, and the potential for it to pave the way for a closer India-U.S.-South Korea trilateral partnership in the Indo-Pacific.

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