Bilateral South Korea-US advisory group meets in response to North Korean nuclear threats

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A bilateral advisory group of South Korean and U.S. officials met Tuesday in Seoul to discuss strengthening their countries’ deterrent capabilities against North Korea’s evolving nuclear threats .

The nuclear advisory group was created as part of agreements reached by Presidents Joe Biden and Yoon Suk Yeol when they met in April.

Seoul officials said the body was tasked with sharing information on nuclear and strategic operation plans and discussing joint operations. The United States would retain operational control of U.S. nuclear weapons, and Washington officials say the group’s creation and other measures announced in April were aimed at allaying South Korean concerns about North Korean provocations while preventing Seoul to pursue its own nuclear program.

The group’s inaugural meeting “will serve as an important starting point to establish a powerful and effective extensive deterrence between Korea and the United States,” Yoon told a televised cabinet meeting, referring to the commitment. American security forces to use all American capabilities, including nuclear ones, to protect its allies.

Yoon said the allies will make substantial efforts to resolve North Korean nuclear threats based on “the Korea-US alliance which is being upgraded with a new nuclear-based paradigm.”

Yoon went to a conference room to meet with South Korean and US officials during the group’s inaugural meeting at the presidential office in Seoul. Yoon told them that the two countries needed to strengthen their deterrence capabilities so that North Korea would not dare to think of using nuclear weapons, according to Yoon’s office.

Earlier, Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, told reporters on Monday that the purpose of the meeting was to begin implementing the Biden-Yoon declaration in April, “which reaffirms our joint expanded deterrence in the region. “.

The meeting was co-chaired by US National Security Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and South Korean Deputy Director of National Security Kim Tae-hyo.

North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have taken on new urgency after it openly threatened to use nuclear weapons in potential conflicts with rivals and conducted around 100 missile tests since the start of last year.

Last week, North Korea carried out a second test flight of a more mobile and powerful intercontinental ballistic missile designed to strike the mainland United States. After observing the launch, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to further strengthen his country’s nuclear combat capabilities.

At their April summit in Washington, Yoon and Biden also agreed to periodically dock a US nuclear submarine in South Korea and to strengthen joint training exercises. Biden also said any North Korean nuclear attack on the United States or its allies would “bring the end of any regime” taking such a step.

North Korea replied that such measures proved the hostility of the allies towards North Korea. He threatened to further strengthen his escalating nuclear doctrine in protest.

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