Austin, who is on a visit to Seoul, and his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-Sup agreed to further expand their combined military exercises…reports Asian Lie News
The United States will increase its deployment of advanced weapons such as fighter jets and bombers to the Korean Peninsula, said Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.
The statement from Austin comes as Washington is strengthening joint training and operational planning with South Korea in response to a growing North Korean nuclear threat.
Austin, who is on a visit to Seoul, and his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-Sup agreed to further expand their combined military exercises, including a resumption of live-fire demonstrations, and continue a “timely and coordinated” deployment of U.S. strategic assets to the region, according to their offices, according to Associated Press report.
During the meeting, the two leaders strongly condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) continued provocations and violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions, including its missile launches and recent drone incursions, Pentagon said in a statement.
They also affirmed that the ROK-U.S. Alliance, along with the international community, will continue to take a strong stance against any further provocations by the DPRK, it added.
They have also reaffirmed measures to enhance the implementation of U.S. extended deterrence to underscore its security commitment to the ROK.
The South Korean Ministry of National Defence and the U.S. Department of Defence will hold the Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-top Exercise (DSC TTX) in February, in order to facilitate discussions on deterrence and response options to deal with the DPRK nuclear threat.
Lee and Austin also discussed measures to strengthen regional security cooperation including ROK-U.S.-Japan trilateral security cooperation.
The two leaders committed to following up on developing specific courses of action to facilitate trilateral sharing of missile warning data, as agreed by the three countries’ leaders at the November 2022 Phnom Penh Summit.
Meanwhile, North Korea on Monday denounced a visit to Seoul by Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General, as a “prelude” to war, saying the move could bring a “new Cold War” to the Asia-Pacific region.
In an article carried by the Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim Tong-myong, a researcher of the North’s organization on international political study, said Stoltenberg’s current trip appears to be aimed at “instigating” the creation of the Asian version of NATO, reports Yonhap News Agency.
“The trip of the NATO secretary general to South Korea and Japan is a prelude to confrontation and war as it brings the dark clouds of a ‘new Cold War’ to the Asia-Pacific region,” Kim said.
Stoltenberg arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a two-day stay, and in a meeting with Foreign Minister Park Jin, he said the North’s support of Russia’s war with Ukraine reinforces the need for the rest of the world to stay “interconnected” in their security efforts.
The NATO chief plans to visit Japan later in the day for a two-day visit.
The North’s researcher condemned Stoltenberg as the head of the military organization that turned Ukraine into a “theatre of proxy war”.
Kim said Stoltenberg will raise the need to build the Asian version of NATO, and put pressure on Seoul and Tokyo for their passive military support to Ukraine at a time when the US has decided to supply tanks to Ukraine.