(LEAD) South Korea, US discuss North Korea, alliance issues at annual military talks

(NOTE: Update with details, additional information, minor edits to paragraphs 4-5, 7-13; date change)

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) — South Korea and the United States held regular defense talks here this week on a series of pending alliance issues with North Korea, the Defense Ministry in Seoul said Wednesday. Stated.

Agenda items for the two-day South Korea-U.S. Joint Defense Dialogue (KIDD) session starting Tuesday include how to operate the U.S. advanced missile defense system, called THAAD, deployed in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, and other ways to strengthen deterrence. included a method. The evolving North Korean threat.

Also discussed were ways to strengthen trilateral security cooperation with Japan, including the issue of the General Security of Military Intelligence Agreement (GSOMIA) between Seoul and Tokyo.

“ROK and U.S. officials reaffirmed their shared goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and committed to maintaining the readiness and posture of combined forces to defend South Korea,” the Pentagon said in a joint statement. I promised,” he said.

ROK stands for Republic of Korea, the official name of South Korea.

South Korea was represented by Undersecretary of Defense Heo Tae-geun, while the US delegation was led by Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Siddharth Mohandas.

The two-day talks ended with North Korea resuming its missile provocations, firing two cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea. It’s the first cruise missile launch since January, but North Korea has launched more than 30 ballistic missiles in more than a dozen missile tests this year.

“Leaders discussed North Korea’s threats, particularly the increasing volume and scale of North Korea’s missile tests last year,” the statement said, referring to North Korea as its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. said.

The two sides also shared information and assessments of activities at North Korea’s secret underground nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.North Korea has reportedly completed preparations for another nuclear test there.

Both sides confirmed that if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, South Korea and the United States will engage in a strong and determined bilateral response to include the option of deploying strategic assets of the United States to the region. .

“U.S. officials reaffirmed America’s unwavering commitment to defending South Korea by utilizing the full range of U.S. military capabilities, including nuclear, conventional, missile defense, and other advanced non-nuclear capabilities.” added.

To this end, countries reaffirmed their commitment to convene an extended deterrence strategy and a consultative group next month, according to a statement issued.

The US High-Level Dialogue on Extended Deterrence was suspended in 2018.

South Korea’s defense ministry said they also agreed to expand the scale and scope of joint exercises during the Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercises that begin next week.

In parallel with the KIDD conference, the allies also convened the Deterrence Strategy Committee (DSC), during which Washington reaffirmed its commitment to mobilizing all military capabilities, including nuclear options, to defend South Korea. (LEAD) South Korea, US discuss North Korea, alliance issues at annual military talks

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