Seoul, Washington hold high-level talks, reaffirm alliance pledge

South Korea and the U.S. reaffirmed Washington's pledge to defend the Korean Peninsula against Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats.

The South Korean and U.S. governments held the inaugural meeting of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) in Washington D.C. on Dec. 20. In the meeting, the two sides held an in-depth, comprehensive discussion on strategic and policy issues regarding deterrence against North Korea, including how to better leverage the full breadth of national power, using diplomacy, information, military and economic elements.

The EDSCG is a new high-level consultative body between Seoul and Washington which focuses on bolstering bilateral cooperation in the security sector of both countries. South Korea and the U.S. have existing bilateral high-level consultative structures in regard to North Korea, atomic energy, and the economy.

The inaugural meeting was attended by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lim Sung-nam and Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy Ryu Je-seung from Korea. The U.S. participants were Thomas Countryman, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, and David Shear, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Governments of South Korea and the U.S. held the inaugural meeting of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group in Washington D.C. on Dec. 20 to discuss deterrence measures against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. (From left) The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy Ryu Je-seung, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Thomas Countryman, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lim Sung-nam and David Shear, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

The officials from both sides reaffirmed the commitment of the U.S. to regularly deploy U.S. strategic assets for the defense of South Korea, as well as to enhance such measures and identify new or additional steps to strengthen deterrence.

They also highlighted that the U.S. in 2016 demonstrated its commitment and resolve to Seoul by exercising extended deterrence through measures to enhance missile defense capabilities and through clear demonstrations of the U.S. nuclear triad, including multiple B-52 strategic bomber flights as well as visits by South Korean officials to observe a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch, and board a nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN).

In particular, Washington reconfirmed its "ironclad and unwavering commitment" to draw on the full range of its military capabilities, including the nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense, to provide extended deterrence.

The U.S. reaffirmed the longstanding U.S. policy that any attack on the U.S. or its allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an effective and overwhelming response. It also emphasized that the U.S. remains steadfast in meeting these enduring commitments and providing immediate support to South Korea.

Source: Korea.net

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