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“I fully trust the US’ commitment to extended deterrence,” says President Yoon Suk-yeol

President Yoon visits the Pentagon

North Korea will face an overwhelming response if it attempts to use nuclear weapons

ROK-US combined training and exercises will be further strengthened

First Korean president to visit the National Military Command Center


“I fully trust the US’ commitment to extended dete

P1) President Yoon Suk-yeol is briefed by US military leadership including US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Pentagon (US Department of Defense) during his state visit to the United States on April 27 (local time). Yonhap News


On April 27 (local time), President Yoon visited the Pentagon in Virginia and said, “If North Korea dares to use its nuclear arsenal, it will face a decisive and overwhelming response from the South Korean armed forces and the ROK-US alliance, including US nuclear capabilities.”


During a state visit to the United States, President Yoon visited the Pentagon and said, “I fully trust the US’ commitment to extended deterrence.” He added, “The world order is facing serious challenges, as the rivalry of power between the liberal democratic camp and authoritarian camp deepens, and the security situations in Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula grow increasingly grave.”


President Yoon went on to say, “Despite strong warnings from the international community, North Korea has advanced nuclear and missile capabilities and committed acts of provocation at an unprecedented frequency and magnitude,” and mentioned instances of provocations including the North’s unveiling of new, smaller nuclear warheads, threats to use tactical nuclear weapons, and testing of a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. He predicted, “Going forward it is likely that, through various provocations, North Korea will continue to put pressure on the ROK-US alliance and try to drive a wedge between our alliance.” He added, “The Korean government will respond resolutely to its threats based on a solid ROK-US combined defense posture.”


President Yoon also said, “We will build overwhelming capabilities, including a Korean triad system, to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. We will further strengthen ROK-US combined training and exercises, and increase our security cooperation among Korea, the United States, and Japan.”


In particular, President Yoon noted, “President Biden and I agreed to further strengthen ROK-US extended deterrence to counter the North’s nuclear and missile threats more effectively and strongly.” He introduced the key contents of the Washington Declaration, derived from the summit the previous day, saying, “We agreed to work on enabling both of our countries to find practical ways to strengthen extended deterrence, including joint planning of US nuclear forces and exercises.” He added, “Now is time that North Korea should realize that they will gain nothing from nuclear weapons, and I urge North Korea once again to make the right decision for denuclearization for a sustainable and genuine peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.”


He mentioned that the ROK-US alliance was established as a pivot that supports peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia for the past 70 years and emphasized, “The watertight solid Alliance will overcome any challenges ahead and further cement security.”


Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, who received President Yoon said, “Our commitment to extended deterrence to defend South Korea against the North’s threats is enduring and ironclad.” He reaffirmed the US’ firm commitment to defending South Korea using its capabilities in all spheres.


In his written briefing, Lee Do-woon, the spokesperson for the presidential office, said that President Yoon assessed the establishment of the Nuclear Consultative Council (NCG), which the two nations agreed to set up, as a significant step toward strengthening extended deterrence, and this has considerably enhanced trust in the US' extended deterrence. According to the briefing, President Yoon urged ROK-US joint planning and execution and promotion of the integrated operation of nuclear and conventional forces through NCG consultations and nuclear tabletop exercises (TTX). He stressed that a close combined defense posture against North Korea’s use of nuclear weapons must be maintained, and that an execution system to counter the North’s nuclear weapons immediately, automatically and overwhelmingly should be established by deploying all of the capabilities of the South Korea and US including US nuclear weapons.


After talking with Secretary of Defense Austin, President Yoon inspected the National Military Command Center (NMCC) of the Pentagon. The NMCC is a core command control center that directly assists military commanders, including the US president, in case of emergency. It monitors nuclear activities worldwide and maintains a strategic surveillance posture with a rapid response system in case of crisis situations. President Yoon is the first Korean president and one of only a few foreign presidents to visit the NMCC, the presidential office said.


On the same day, President Yoon also visited the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the hub of US advanced defense science and technology innovation, and examined the high-tech research being planned and supported by DARPA. After receiving a briefing from the director of DARPA, President Yoon expressed an interest in bilateral cooperation and inquired about how the two countries could collaborate, considering DARPA’s future research areas and Korea’s security situation and technology development conditions. President Yoon is the first foreign president to visit DARPA.

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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