U.S., S. Korea agree to hold additional exercises on nuclear deterrence
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States have agreed to hold additional tabletop exercises (TTXs) in the near future to enhance their joint deterrence against North Korean nuclear threats, the U.S. Department of Defense said Thursday.
The agreement came at a Deterrence Strategy Committee TTX, held in Washington on Wednesday.
"Given the DPRK's recent aggressive nuclear policy and advancements in nuclear capabilities, the TTX scenario focused on the possibility of the DPRK's use of nuclear weapons," the countries said in a joint statement, released by the Pentagon.
DPRK stands for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"The U.S. and ROK delegations focused their discussion on alliance deterrence to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and potential options for responding to DPRK nuclear weapons use," the statement added, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.
The tabletop exercise centered around U.S. extended deterrence marked the first of its kind to be held since South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol took office last year.
"Both sides agreed that events such as the DSC TTX contribute to improving mutual understanding regarding the utilization and enhancement of alliance capabilities," the joint statement said.
It added the outcome of the DSC TTX will be reported to the U.S.-Korea Integrated Defense Dialogue and Security Consultative Meeting.
"Additionally, both sides agreed to reflect the strategic approaches discussed during the DSC TTX in the ongoing revisions of the Tailored Deterrence Strategy (TDS) and to conduct follow-on TTXs involving political, military, and interagency participants in the near future to continue the joint planning and coordination process," it said.
The statement said the South Korean delegation to the joint exercise has also visited U.S. nuclear submarine training facilities in Georgia, where they were explained the mission of Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, which, according to the joint statement, are a "key means of providing U.S. extended deterrence to allies."
"The United States will continue to work with the ROK to ensure an effective mix of capabilities, concepts, deployments, exercises, and tailored options to deter and, if necessary, respond to coercion and aggression by the DPRK," the joint statement said.
"The United States will continue to field flexible nuclear forces suited to deterring regional nuclear conflict, including the capability to forward deploy strategic bombers, dual-capable fighter aircraft, and nuclear weapons to the region."
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