U.S., South Korea to strengthen deterrence in policy shift under Seoul’s new leader

FPI / May 26, 2022


The United States and South Korea have reconfirmed that the U.S. will deploy strategic assets, which could include long-range strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, at the appropriate time as a means of deterring the Kim Jong-Un regime’s nuclear buildup.

President Yoon Suk-yeol holds a summit with Joe Biden at the presidential office in Yongsan on May 21. /  Presidential Office

In the summit on May 21, newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol and Team Biden also agreed to expand joint exercises and drills.

It was the first joint security meeting between the two nations since the inauguration of Yoon. His predecessor, Moon Jae-In, was called by some critics a North Korea sympathizer.

During the summit, the U.S. and South Korea agreed to “reactivate the high-level Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group at the earliest date” to discuss a specific action plan for extended deterrence.

This consultation group is a channel between the two countries’ number two diplomats and defense officials that was launched in December 2016, under former South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. But the group’s activities were suspended in 2018 as dialogue was initiated between South and North Korea and between the U.S. and North Korea.

Biden and Yoon said the U.S. means to make its “nuclear umbrella” more practical and strengthen its joint defense posture with South Korea to counter the growing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles.

“Considering the evolving threat posed by [North Korea], both leaders agree to initiate discussions to expand the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on and around the Korean Peninsula,” Yoon and Biden said in a joint statement adopted following the summit.

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