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Monday June 24, 2024

South Korea, US work on joint strategy over N Korea nuclear threat

By Reuters
June 11, 2024
A representational image showing South Koreas Deputy Defence Minister for Policy Cho Chang-rae holds a press conference with US acting US Assistant Secretary of Defence for Space Policy. — Reuters/File
A representational image showing South Korea's Deputy Defence Minister for Policy Cho Chang-rae holds a press conference with US acting US Assistant Secretary of Defence for Space Policy. — Reuters/File

SEOUL: Senior South Korean and US defence officials met in Seoul on Monday to work on new guidelines to coordinate their response to any nuclear threat from North Korea, officials said.

The guidelines laid out the principles and procedures for maintaining and enhancing a “credible and effective” nuclear deterrence policy and posture, according to a joint statement from the allies’ third closed-doors talks on the issue.

The Nuclear Consultative Group meeting came amid signs North Korea is racing to develop its nuclear arms and delivery systems.

Some South Korean politicians, including senior members of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s party, have called for Seoul to develop its own nuclear weapons rather than just rely on the US nuclear umbrella, a step Washington opposes.

Monday’s meeting followed up on last year’s summit, when the United States promised to give South Korea more insight into its nuclear planning for any conflict with the North.

Vipin Narang, acting US assistant secretary of defence for space policy who co-chaired the talks, said the guidelines set up an architecture for how the allies integrate conventional and nuclear capabilities which will be ultimately provided to each country’s leadership in a crisis.

“The guidelines cover the principles and procedures for consultations, particularly in a DPRK nuclear crisis and inform alliance operational concepts and exercises,” Narang told a news conference, using the acronym of North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.