South Korea

South Korea, US to hold nuclear drills amid growing threats from North

Reuters

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South Korea, US to hold nuclear drills amid growing threats from North

PENTAGON. An aerial view of the Pentagon in the US.

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The drills, called the Deterrence Strategy Committee Tabletop Exercise, are scheduled for February 22 at the Pentagon and will involve senior defense policymakers from both sides

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea and the United States will stage tabletop exercises in Washington next week to improve operations of American nuclear assets as part of efforts to better counter North Korea’s threats, Seoul’s defense ministry said on Friday, February 17.

Nuclear-armed North Korea fired an unprecedented number of missiles last year, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could strike anywhere in the United States, while resuming preparations for its first nuclear test since 2017.

The drills, called the Deterrence Strategy Committee Tabletop Exercise, are scheduled for February 22 at the Pentagon and will involve senior defense policymakers from both sides, the ministry said.

It would be their first such exercises since the two countries agreed last year to hold them annually, as Seoul seeks to bolster confidence in American extended deterrence – its military capability, especially nuclear forces, to deter attacks on its allies.

The South Korean delegation will be led by Deputy Defense Minister Heo Tae-keun; the US team will be led by Siddharth Mohandas, deputy assistant defense secretary for East Asia, and Richard Johnson, deputy assistant defense secretary for nuclear and countering weapons of mass destruction policy.

“With a focus on North Korea’s nuclear threats, both sides will have in-depth discussions on various measures to strengthen US extended deterrence, including information sharing and consultation procedures,” the ministry said in a statement.

On February 23, the officials will visit the Kings Bay naval base in Georgia that houses key nuclear submarines.

The allies have said they were working to boost joint nuclear planning and implementation as well as information sharing.

In May, both sides’ militaries will stage their own tabletop exercises for the first time, which will be “far more concrete and substantive” than the upcoming programs. – Rappler.com

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