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S. Korea, US defense chiefs discuss 'tailored deterrence strategy' on N. Korea

Nov. 13, 2023 - 10:40 By Yonhap
South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik (right) and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin attend a ceremony ahead of the Security Consultative Meeting at the defense ministry's headquarters in central Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

The defense chiefs of South Korea and the United States held annual security talks Monday as the two countries seek to update joint military strategies on North Korea in case the regime attempts to use nuclear weapons.

Updating the "tailored deterrence strategy" and improving the credibility of the US "extended deterrence" commitment was one of the key topics as Defense Minister Shin Won-sik and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held the 55th Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul.

Austin arrived in Seoul late Saturday as part of his three-nation trip that also involves India and Indonesia, which is focused on reassuring Asian countries of the US' security commitment to the Indo-Pacific amid the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas war.

Austin's visit comes at a time when Pyongyang is believed to be trying to make yet another attempt to launch a military satellite with Russian assistance following the rare summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September.

On Sunday, President Yoon Suk Yeol invited the Pentagon chief to a dinner at his residence and called for "a vigilant S. Korea-US combined defense posture capable of retaliating against any North Korean provocations, including surprise attacks resembling Hamas-style tactics due to its miscalculation," presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon said.

Austin responded that US President Joe Biden is committed to strengthening the bilateral alliance and reaffirmed the commitment to use the full range of military capabilities to defend South Korea, according to Lee.

On Sunday, Shin and Austin held video talks with their Japanese counterpart, Kihara Minoru, and discussed regional security issues and the expansion of their security cooperation.

They agreed to activate a mechanism for sharing real-time warning data on North Korea's missile launches and draw up a multiyear trilateral exercise plan within the next month.

On Tuesday, Austin will attend the inaugural defense ministerial meeting of South Korea and the United Nations Command member states, which contributed forces to fight for South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War, before departing for his final stop in Indonesia. (Yonhap)