U.S., S.Korea eye broader Asia role while sprucing up N.Korea plans By Reuters

by Msnbctv news staff

© Reuters. U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Protection Minister Suh Wook examine a guard of honor throughout a welcoming ceremony on the Protection Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, December 2, 2021. Ahn Younger-joon/Pool by way of REUTERS


By Phil Stewart and Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) -The defence chiefs of america and South Korea mentioned on Thursday they’d overview and replace methods to discourage North Korea, whilst they emphasised a rising regional position for Seoul.

North Korea’s missile and weapons developments are more and more destabilising for regional safety, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned after talks together with his South Korean counterpart, Suh Wook, however the two sides additionally mentioned points past the Korean peninsula.

For the primary time, their joint assertion affirmed “the significance of preserving peace and stability within the Taiwan Strait.”

It mirrored language used for the primary time by South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Could when he met with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington. It is a delicate problem for South Korea, which has tried to steadiness its financial relationship with China with Washington’s push for allies to counter Beijing’s rising energy.

The assertion got here the identical day that South Korea’s nationwide safety adviser travelled to China to fulfill its high diplomat. It additionally adopted remarks on Wednesday by Japan’s former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, suggesting {that a} Chinese language invasion of Taiwan could be a hazard for Japan.

Austin and senior U.S. navy commanders have been in Seoul for the primary such annual navy talks with South Korean officers since Biden took workplace in January, and the final earlier than Moon leaves workplace in Could.

North Korea has continued to rebuff U.S. entreaties for diplomacy since Biden took over from Donald Trump, who had three summits with chief Kim Jong Un.

America calls on the North to interact in dialogue, Austin instructed a information convention, saying diplomacy is the most effective method to pursue with North Korea, backed up by a reputable deterrent.

This week the Pentagon launched a worldwide posture overview that calls for added cooperation with allies and companions to discourage “potential Chinese language navy aggression and threats from North Korea,” together with a beforehand introduced determination to completely base an assault helicopter squadron and artillery division headquarters in South Korea.

America stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean Battle, which led to an armistice however not a peace treaty.

In a gathering with Austin on Thursday night, Moon requested that america assist his push for an “finish of conflict declaration” geared toward lowering tensions with North Korea and jump-starting talks, mentioned a spokesperson for South Korea’s presidential Blue Home.

Austin responded by paying tribute to Moon’s efforts to enhance relations with North Korea, the spokesperson mentioned in a press release.


A altering safety setting prompted america and South Korea to conform to replace strategic steerage about how they plan for a possible battle with North Korea, in addition to overview their mixed navy command, Suh mentioned.

“The Strategic Planning Steerage from 2010 nonetheless stays efficient, however we have shared the necessity for a brand new conflict plan that might replicate evolving threats from North Korea and adjustments from our personal defence reform and a mixed command construction, in addition to total strategic setting,” he mentioned on the information convention.

U.S. and South Korean officers cautioned that the updates to the conflict plans are routine and never a preparation for conflict.

Presently, america would command allied troops within the occasion of conflict, however South Korea has been looking for to achieve “operational management” (OPCON).

Moon’s objective of OPCON switch by the point he leaves workplace couldn’t be achieved, as a scheduled joint overview was not carried out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suh mentioned the 2 sides made progress on assembly situations for OPCON switch to South Korea and agreed to evaluate the longer term command’s full operational functionality subsequent yr.

America reaffirmed its dedication to offering prolonged deterrence to South Korea, together with utilizing its nuclear weapons, together with conference and missile defence capabilities.

However America’s method to nuclear deterrence may change. Biden is finishing up a overview of U.S. nuclear weapons coverage, with hopes for a extra tailor-made position for nuclear arms, specialists say.

It is unclear whether or not Biden may break precedent by declaring a “no first use” coverage, a transfer that critics say would weaken U.S. deterrence.

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