U.S., S. Korea agree on need to strengthen extended deterrence: Pentagon
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- The United States and South Korea agree on the need to further strengthen U.S. extended deterrence, a U.S. defense department spokesperson said Tuesday, also reaffirming U.S. commitment to deploying strategic assets to South Korea on a rotational basis.
The remarks from Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder come after the countries held a Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-Top Exercise (DSC TTX) aimed at enhancing their joint deterrence against North Korean nuclear threats.
"We did conduct a successful discussion in regards to various approaches on the alliance deterrence posture and response posture in the face of the DPRK's evolving nuclear and missile capabilities," the department press secretary said of the table-top exercise held here in Washington last week, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"Coming out of that tabletop exercise, both sides agreed on the need to continue to strengthen extended deterrence, including through robust consultative mechanisms in crisis communication, as well as information sharing and joint planning and execution," he added.
Ryder, however, said he had nothing to announce when asked about future plans.
Cho Tae-yong, South Korean ambassador to the U.S., said on Monday that the countries have agreed to hold follow-up exercises in the near future.
The Pentagon spokesperson also declined to comment when asked if the U.S. planned to deploy more strategic assets to South Korea in the wake of unprecedented North Korean missile tests.
Still, he highlighted security commitments made by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during his trip to Seoul late last month.
"You have heard our senior leadership to include Secretary Austin highlight the fact that we will be on a rotational basis, deploying strategic assets into the region and to South Korea in support of extended deterrence," he told the press briefing. "But I don't have any specifics to provide."
North Korea launched 69 ballistic missiles last year, marking a new record of ballistic missiles fired in any given year. Its previous annual record was at 25.
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