U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Korea Cho Tae-yul announced, on March 3rd, the launch of the High-Level Bilateral Commission or HLBC. In their roles as Co-Chairs, Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall and Vice Minister Cho also announced that the first meeting of the HLBC will take place in Seoul on April 14. Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall will travel to Seoul to Co-Chair the HLBC as part of a trip focused on nuclear security, safety, nonproliferation, and clean energy.
Established pursuant to the terms of the Agreement for Cooperation Between the United States of America and the Republic of Korea Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy— often referred to as the U.S.-ROK 123 Agreement—the HLBC will serve as a senior-level forum to facilitate strategic dialogue and technical exchanges on peaceful nuclear cooperation between the two countries.
In particular, the HLBC will examine the management of spent nuclear fuel, the promotion of nuclear exports and export control cooperation, assurances of nuclear fuel supply, and nuclear security.
Upon announcement of the HLBC, Deputy Secretary of Energy Sherwood Randall said: “The United States and the Republic of Korea share over thirty years of close cooperation on civil nuclear energy. The creation of the HLBC reaffirms our nations’ deep commitment to our joint efforts on nuclear safety and builds on our history of mutually beneficial collaboration in this area.”
Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall’s and Vice Minister Cho’s meeting established the structure and functions of the four Working Groups established in the 123 Agreement and confirmed the groups’ membership. The first official task for the Working Groups is to develop Terms of Reference and Work Plans that will be presented to the HLBC Co-Chairs for approval at their April meeting.
The United States is proud to work with its partner the Republic of Korea to ensure the peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy for the benefit of the people of the ROK, the Korean peninsula, and the East Asia and Pacific region.