US to regularly deploy strategic weapons to South Korea: Officials
Iran Press TV
Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:40PM
The United States will regularly deploy strategic weapons to South Korea to counter nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, US and South Korean defense officials said in a joint statement.
Officials reaffirmed the commitment at the first meeting of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) in Washington on Tuesday.
In an attempt to boost deterrence against Pyongyang, US and South Korean officials launched the joint defense cooperation talks in Washington in October.
"In response to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, the officials reaffirmed the commitment of the US to regularly deploy US strategic assets for the defense of the Republic of Korea," the allies said in their statement on Tuesday.
The two countries will also "enhance such measures and identify new or additional steps to strengthen deterrence," the statement, published by the US State Department, said.
Earlier in the year, the US sent several B-52 strategic bombers and stealth fighter jets to South Korea in a show of force after North Korea conducted a nuclear test.
The bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons briefly flew over the Osan Air Base, located some 72 kilometers (45 miles) south of Seoul.
In September, the US also flew two B-1B strategic bombers over South Korea and near North Korea's border. One of the nuclear-capable supersonic bombers landed at Osan Air Base near Seoul, a first in two decades.
"The US reiterated 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 for the ROK," the two sides stressed in their statement.
The South Korean delegation met with Michael Flynn, a retired US Army lieutenant general who will serve as the national security adviser for the incoming president, Donald Trump.
Flynn said the Trump administration would continue to cooperate with Seoul to further strengthen the South Korea-US alliance, officials said.
North Korea launched three ballistic missiles in the direction of the Sea of Japan on September 5. Several days later, it announced that it had conducted a successful "nuclear warhead explosion," which was believed to be the fifth and largest such test by the country.
Pyongyang says it will not abandon its nuclear "deterrence" unless Washington ends its "hostile" policy toward the country.
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