Aletho News


US, South Korea vow to expand war games amid tensions in Korean Peninsula

Press TV – January 31, 2023

United States and South Korea have pledged to expand the level and scale of their joint military exercises and boost nuclear deterrence planning amid a major uptick in tensions with North Korea.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin met with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup on Tuesday in Seoul, more than two months after their annual talks in November last year in Washington.

He is also scheduled to hold talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol during his stay in Seoul before flying to the Philippines.

In a joint statement, the two officials said they had agreed to boost information sharing and joint planning between the two sides.

They also committed to boosting the “level and scale” of combined military exercises this year and to deploying more US aircraft carriers and bombers.

North Korea has repeatedly denounced the joint drills between Washington and Seoul as proof of their hostile intentions.

The Pentagon chief said the trip aimed at deepening cooperation with the key Asian ally and reaffirming the US extended deterrence commitment to South Korea as “ironclad” at a time of heightened tensions.

“That’s why the United States and the ROK (Republic of Korea) are taking clear, meaningful steps to modernize and strengthen our alliance,” Austin was quoted as saying by the South’s state-run Yonhap news agency.

“So our adversaries and competitors know that if they challenge one of us, they are challenging the US-ROK alliance as a whole,” he added.

Lee has said the two countries will hold a table-top nuclear drill in February under the theme of North Korea’s nuclear strikes, while Austin said the drills are in line with their talks to expand activities and extended deterrence mechanisms on the peninsula and in the region.

Military tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen sharply this year. The US has resumed massive land, naval, and aerial war games with South Korean and Japanese forces in the region while vowing to consider all available options to counter what they deem a threat posed by North Korea.

North Korea considers the US military drills with South Korea and Japan “provocative measures” that are designed to practice an invasion.

The country is reeling under harsh sanctions by the US and UN Security Council over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which have not prevented it from developing its military capabilities as a deterrent against hostile West-led moves.

North Korea maintains that it will not tolerate persisting US-led war games in the region, underlining that it will continue responding to joint military maneuvers of its adversaries by holding its own drills as well as developing all sorts of weaponry, including long-range missiles.

January 31, 2023 - Posted by | Militarism | ,

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