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The defense chiefs of the ROK and the US: “Continue to strengthen the execution capability of extended deterrence against North ...

Defense ministerial meeting held in Seoul

Promoting the completion of the revision of the tailored deterrence strategy by the end of year

Expansion of scale and level of joint exercises and drills

Enhanced cooperation in early hosting of the Korea-US-Japan Security Conference

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup (second from right)

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup (second from right) and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (second from left) discuss key alliance issues during a defense ministerial meeting held at the Defense Ministry in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, on the Jan. 31.

South Korea

South Korea's Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup and his US counterpart Lloyd Austin hold a press conference after a meeting between the ROK and US defense ministers at the Ministry of National Defense in Yongsan-gu, Seoul on the Jan. 31.

The defense chiefs of both countries decided to continue strengthening the extended deterrence to respond North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. This year's joint exercises and drills will be further expanded and enhanced in scale and level, and a Korea-US-Japan Security Conference will be held at an early date to discuss concrete plans to enhance security cooperation.


The Ministry of National Defense announced that Minister Lee Jong-sup and Secretary Lloyd Austin held a meeting of the ROK-US defense officials at the Defense Ministry Office Building in Yongsan-gu, Seoul on the Jan. 31, where they shared their assessments of North Korea's series of provocative acts and discussed key issues of the alliance.


At the meeting, the two officials strongly denounced North Korea's continued provocations, including missile launches and drone infiltration, and its violation of UN Security Council resolutions. It was also made clear that any future provocations by Pyongyang would be dealt with decisively together with the international community.


The two sides agreed to jointly reaffirm the US measures to strengthen extended deterrence execution capabilities to guarantee its defense commitments to the ROK.


In particular, as agreed at the ROK-US Summit in May last year and the 54th ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) in November, they stressed the sustained strengthening of the alliance's capabilities to deter and respond the North Korean nuclear and missile threats, as well as information sharing, joint planning and implementation, and the alliance consultation system.


In addition, it was confirmed that substantial progress will be made so that the revision of the Korea-US Tailored Deterrence Strategy (TDS) can be completed before the SCM this year. In order to facilitate inter-alliance discussions on deterrence and countermeasures against North Korea's nuclear threats, it was also decided to continue the Deterrence Strategy Committee Table Top Exercise (DSC TTX) this month.


The two officials also agreed that the joint air drill conducted at the end of last year with strategic bomber deployment by the United States demonstrated the alliance's deterrence capabilities, and promised to "continue to consult closely to ensure timely and coordinated strategic asset deployment in the future."


The defense chiefs of the two countries also agreed to expand and enhance the scale and level of joint exercises and drills between the ROK and US Accordingly, this will reflect changes in the security environment, including Pyongyang's recent attempts to upgrade its nuclear weapons and missiles, while strengthening the two countries' joint exercises and drills, including the joint exercises scheduled for the first half of this year. Furthermore, it was decided to expand the scale and scope of the joint field maneuver drill this year and to conduct large-scale joint and combined firepower demonstrations.


They also exchanged views on ways to strengthen regional security cooperation, including ROK-US-Japan security cooperation. The two defense chiefs agreed to develop together a concrete proposal to facilitate "real-time sharing of missile warning information," which was agreed upon by the leaders of the three countries during the Phnom Penh Summit in Cambodia in November, last year. To this end, it was decided to hold an ROK-US-Japan Security Meeting (Defense Trilateral Talk, DTT) as soon as possible to discuss concrete measures to enhance security cooperation.


Based on the shared recognition of a "free and open Indo-Pacific," it was decided to strengthen the connectivity of two countries' Indo-Pacific strategies and to jointly explore ways to cooperate with Southeast Asia and Pacific Island allies.


In addition, in the year of the 70th anniversary of the ROK-US Alliance and the Armistice Agreement, they agreed to deepen mutual cooperation to contribute to regional and global security while sustaining and strengthening the alliance.


They also pledged to further strengthen solidarity with the member states of the United Nations Command (UNC), which share core values to promote security on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, Secretary Austin welcomed Korea's proposal for a defense officials’ meeting of the ROK-UNC member states this year, the Ministry of National Defense said.

By Hyun-woo, Seo <>

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