South Korea in talks with US on joint nuclear exercises, says Yoon

Seoul, Jan 2 (EFE).- President Yoon Suk-yeol has said South Korea is in talks with the United States for joint nuclear exercises in response to North Korea’s growing military threats.

In an interview with the local Chosun Ilbo newspaper published on Monday, Yoon said the idea of the US providing a nuclear umbrella or extended deterrence was not enough to reassure South Korean security.

Yoon told the newspaper that South Korea could no longer bank on the older concept of extended deterrence, referring to the ability of US armed forces to deter atomic attacks on its allies from the Soviet Union and China and telling them not to worry.

“What we call extended deterrence was also the US telling us not worry because it will take care of everything. But it is difficult to convince our people just with that.”

For effective extended deterrence, “South Korea is in talks with the US for joint planning (exercises),” the president said.

“The nuclear weapons belong to the US, but information sharing, planning, and training must be jointly conducted by South Korea and the United States.”

He said the US government understood the South Korean concerns to “some degree” and was “quite positive” about the idea.

The interview was published a day after North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong-un has stressed the need to “exponentially” increase the arsenal of short-range nuclear weapons, calling South Korea “undoubtedly an enemy.”

The statement came after North Korea last year conducted a record 50 missile tests.

In January 2021, the North Korean regime approved its weapons modernization plan.

South Korea and the US last year resumed large-scale military exercises in the peninsula amid growing unease in the region. EFE


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