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“The ROK and the US will further strengthen response at the ROK-US alliance level if North Korea continues its provocations”

Defense ministers of two countries condemn North Korean missile threats

US nuclear-powered carrier strike group re-deployed to the East Sea

Two sides conduct combined flight of an air strike package and a precision strike drill

Two sides fire ATACMS to demonstrate capability to neutralize the origin of the provocation from North Korea

“The ROK and the US will further strengthen respon

The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States (US) clarified the firm ROK-US combined defense posture and their will to respond resolutely to North Korea’s consecutive ballistic missile launches.


On Tuesday, October 4, North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile, That very night, the defense ministers of the ROK and the US had a telephone discussion of ways to jointly respond. Early the next morning, the two sides conducted the combined flight of an air strike package, a precision strike drill, and a combined ground-to-ground missile firing drill. The two sides also showed their capabilities and readiness to respond strongly to any provocations from North Korea by re-deploying the US nuclear-powered carrier strike group to the East Sea.


During the phone talks, Minister Lee and his American counterpart Loyd Austin emphasized that “the ROK-US alliance response posture will be further strengthened if North Korea continues its provocations,” adding that “the series of North Korean provocations will further strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the ROK-US alliance, and only intensify its isolation from the international community.”


The two ministers also condemned North Korea’s IRBM launch as a clear breach of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and an act of significant provocation seriously threatening peace and stability, not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the international community. Significantly, Austin reaffirmed the ironclad defense commitment of the US to provide extended deterrence to the ROK by using its full range of military capabilities.


The two sides shared the assessment of North Korea’s latest missile launches and the possibility of another provocation from North Korea, and agreed to immediately take the ROK-US joint response actions. The two sides also reaffirmed their will to respond strongly to any provocations from North Korea by deploying US strategic assets, and agreed to strengthen the combined defense posture.


On the afternoon of Tuesday, October 4, four F-15K fighter jets of the ROK Air Force and four F-16 fighter jets of the US Air Force were deployed to conduct the combined flight of an air strike package, and an F-15K fighter jet dropped two air-to-ground joint direct attack munitions (JDAM) at a virtual target in the firing range on the island of Jikdo in the West Sea to conduct a precision strike drill. Early the next morning, four Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles were fired into the East Sea to strike a virtual target.


“The drills demonstrated our response capabilities and readiness at the ROK-US alliance level to neutralize the origin of a provocation while maintaining a constant monitoring posture, regardless of any provocations from North Korea,” a military official explained.


The US Carrier Strike Group, including the nuclear-powered Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, was redeployed to the East Sea on October 5. “It is highly unusual for the US Carrier Strike Group to be re-deployed near the Korean Peninsula. This re-deployment shows our resolute will to strengthen the ROK-US alliance readiness and respond sternly to any provocations and threats from North Korea,” the official said.


Meanwhile, the two ministers agreed to have an in-depth discussion on substantive measures to strengthen the US extended deterrence at the 54th Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), slated to be held in Washington.

 By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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