Yoon to travel to U.S. next week for NATO summit, Indo-Pacific Command visit

July 5, 2024

President Yoon Suk Yeol will travel to the United States next week to attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Washington and visit the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, his office said Friday.

Yoon will visit Washington from Wednesday to Thursday to meet with NATO leaders and discuss the war in Ukraine and cooperation between the transatlantic security alliance and the Indo-Pacific region, Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo said.

Ahead of the summit, Yoon will stop in Hawaii on Monday and Tuesday to visit the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to receive a security briefing and encourage the personnel at the command.

The U.S.-led joint maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific Exercise, has been under way in Hawaii since late June, involving 29 countries, including South Korea.

South Korea was invited to the NATO summit for the third consecutive year as one of the non-NATO partners in the Indo-Pacific region, which include Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Yoon attended two previous NATO summits held in Spain in 2022 and Lithuania in 2023.

On June 10, Yoon will have a series of bilateral talks with his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and Norway as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, with talks under way to arrange additional meetings, according to Kim.

The next day, he is scheduled to join a session of NATO allies and partners and hold a four-way meeting with leaders from Indo-Pacific partner nations to discuss ways to expand security cooperation in response to deepening military ties between Russia and North Korea.

Yoon also plans to attend a NATO public forum, an event jointly hosted by NATO and think tanks in Europe and the U.S., and deliver a speech.

“We will send a strong message regarding the military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, and discuss ways to enhance cooperation among NATO allies and Indo-Pacific partners,” Kim said in a briefing.

While a trilateral summit between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan has not yet been arranged, Seoul is open to “all possibilities” for their gathering on the sidelines of the NATO summit, a senior presidential official said.