On Friday, senior South Korean and US defense officials agreed to expand the countries’ future joint military exercises and to resume strategic dialogue soon on strengthening deterrence. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also reaffirmed the US commitment to South Korea’s defense during a bilateral meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sul, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
The decision to expand military exercises came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un cracked down on allies conducting such exercises.
“The ministers agreed to integrate the joint military exercises of the two countries with the (South Korean) government exercises (Ulchi Civil Contingency Exercise) in the second half of 2022 to further strengthen the allies’ deterrence posture, including ballistic missile defense systems.
“The U.S. defense system. Strategic assets stationed on the Korean Peninsula,” the Seoul Defense Ministry said at a press conference, adding that the South Korea-U.S. alliance would only be strengthened in the face of North Korean provocations.
Lee later explained that the expanded military exercise was likely to be called the Ulti Freedom Shield, saying that the Freedom Shield name was used for the highest level exercises and reflected the defensive nature of the exercises.
Pyongyang regularly accuses South Korea and the United States of joint military exercises aimed at overthrowing its regime.
North Korean leaders blasted Seoul and Washington again on Wednesday for conducting joint military exercises, calling them “thug-like behavior” and calling Seoul and its troops a dangerous attempt. He threatened to “clean up”.
North Korea is widely expected to conduct a nuclear test in the near future, and officials in Seoul and Washington say North Korea appears to have completed “all preparations” for its seventh nuclear test. There is. Pyongyang conducted its sixth and final nuclear test in September 2017.
Austin pointed out that the North Korean government is currently “engaged in the most active period of missile testing in its history.”
North Korea launched more than 30 ballistic missiles this year, the highest number of ballistic missiles launched in a year.
The US Secretary of Defense said at the beginning of the meeting with the South Korean Secretary of Defense, “Our alliance is resolutely ready in the face of these dangerous and volatile behaviors.” Lee emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts by allies to prevent and counter North Korea’s nuclear test.
“We need to understand exactly where North Korea is currently standing. Various to better implement US commitment to strengthen deterrence and prevent North Korea’s nuclear test. I hope we can discuss the method. North Korea is conducting a nuclear test, “he said. The Pentagon said.
Provincial officials later stated that countries had agreed to hold an EDSCG meeting by the end of September.
Secretary of Defense Lee said he would also hold a joint “operational exercise” on the strengthened deterrence of the United States in the near future.
“It was an opportunity to reaffirm America.” Lee spoke at a meeting with reporters about his commitment to strengthening deterrence and its ability to carry out that commitment. Powered aircraft carriers and fighter-bombers, “the minister said.
According to the Pentagon, Lee and Austin also reiterated their agreement to expand the alliance into a “global comprehensive strategic alliance.” The two ministers said that if North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test despite opposition from the international community, South Korea and the United States will jointly be strict with respect to North Korea’s nuclear test based on a strong joint defense system. It was revealed that we would take various measures. “(Union)
Credit/Source : KoreaTimes