South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has stated that Seoul and Washington are discussing holding joint military drills, in which US nuclear assets could be used.
Last year saw a spate of war games involving troops from the USA and South Korea, which were conducted in response to Pyongyang’s missile tests.
Yoon told a South Korean media outlet that the nuclear weapons belong to Washington, but planning, information sharing, exercises and training should be jointly conducted by South Korea and the United States.
The South Korean president pointed out that the joint planning and exercises would be aimed at a more effective implementation of the USA’s so-called extended deterrence, adding that Washington was also quite positive about the idea.
The term extended deterrence refers to the US military’s capability to deter attacks on Washington’s allies. A Pentagon spokesperson commented on Yoon’s remarks by saying that they have nothing to announce, only noting that the two’s alliance remains rock-solid.
This came after North Korea test-fired its first short-range ballistic missiles of 2023 on Monday, launching it toward the Sea of Japan.
Senior diplomats from South Korea, the USA and Japan held three-way phone consultations, condemning Pyongyang’s first missile launch of the year and warning that such provocations will drive the country into further isolation.
The test was preceded by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un saying that the USA, under the pretext of strengthening cooperation with South Korea and Japan, was creating an Asian version of NATO.
He also ordered the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile system capable of conducting a quick nuclear retaliatory strike.
North Korea’s Monday missile test was preceded by Pyongyang firing three short-range ballistic missiles towards the sea to the east of the Korean Peninsula in late December, 2022.
In 2022, the North Korean military test-fired more missiles, including ballistic and cruise missiles, than ever before - something that was followed by Washington and Seoul holding joint war games in retaliatory moves.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.