The historic summit between Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington this Spring delivered a number of important developments for both countries. Over the past week, one of President Biden’s pledges from the meeting was made real with the delivery of a vaccine against the Coronavirus.

The shipment included enough vaccines for more than one million Koreans, including the 550,000 active service members who provide valuable support to U.S. forces stationed in Korea. The hand-off of more than one million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen VOCID-19 vaccine was another symbol of the close relationship and alliance between the two nations.

The vaccines were delivered in a KC-330 military cargo plane to Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, having left the United States the previous Thursday. It came after a pledge by President Biden to assist Korea in protecting its troops that work so closely with American armed forces in the region. A subsequent pledge to more than double the shipment volume will allow Korea to inoculate a broad range of national security personnel, including reserve forces, civil defense members, and those working in defense and foreign affairs.

The shipments were met by officials from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul as well as officials from the Korean Government, and included the charge d’affaires Rob Rapson and Vice Defense Minister Park Jae-min. 

At the arrival ceremony marking the delivery of the vaccines, Vice Defense Minister Park told the awaiting audience, “The arrival of the Janssen vaccine served as an opportunity to once again realize the solid bond of the South Korea-US alliance and its crucial value.I thank the Korean and US military for its operations to safely transport the vaccine doses.”

Rapson echoed those sentiments in a post on social media, stating, “This is what allies do; this is what makes our Alliance and Partnership so strong!” 

The vaccines were transferred to two trucks which were given a police escort on their way to warehouses in Icheon, 80 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and Pyeongtaek, 70 km south of Seoul, for use later this month.

“The friendship between our two countries runs deep, especially in times of great need,” the U.S. State Department Spokesman posted on social media. “One million J&J vaccines are headed to our partners in the Republic of Korea. With these doses we’re ensuring the safety and readiness of ROK and US forces.”