South Korea and the United States have updated their joint deterrence strategies on North Korea. During the 55th Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), South Korea’s Defence Minister Shin Won-sik and his US counterpart Lloyd Austin signed the revised document of the “tailored deterrence strategy” (TDS), Yonhap News Agency reported. The two nations announced the decision during their annual security talks on Monday (local time) as part of their efforts to better counter North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear threats. The decision marks the first revision since its adoption in 2013 after North Korea’s third nuclear test, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The US and South Korea have been working to update the key military document to better counter North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threats, considering Pyongyang has carried out six nuclear tests and enshrined in its law the right to use preemptive nuclear strikes to protect itself. Austin reiterated the “extended deterrence” commitment of the US to make use of all its military capabilities, including nuclear, to defend South Korea, according to Yonhap News Agency report. During the signing ceremony, Austin said, “America’s extended deterrence commitment to the Republic of Korea remains ironclad. Together, we have continued to make exceptional progress on all of these alliance priorities this year. And we seek to work more closely than ever with like-minded countries, including Japan, our allies and partners,” Yonhap News Agency reported.
Taking to X, Austin stated, “Great to be in Seoul for the 55th Security Consultative Meeting. The US-ROK alliance is robust, interoperable, and ironclad. Our discussion today will bolster important progress toward our shared goal of peace & stability in the region & beyond.” Meanwhile, Shin Won-sik said that the US’ increased deployments of strategic assets to South Korea in 2023 increased the credibility of Washington’s extended deterrence commitment. US Secretary of Defence Antony Blinken’s visit comes at a time when North Korea is believed to be making efforts to make yet another attempt to launch a military satellite with Russia’s help.
During his visit to South Korea, Lloyd Austin visited the War Memorial in Yongsan. Taking to X, he stated, “On this Veteran’s Day weekend, I was able to visit the War Memorial in Yongsan, South Korea to honour our veterans. We are deeply grateful for the service and commitment to duty that all service members and veterans give to their country.” On Tuesday, Lloyd Austin is scheduled to attend the inaugural defence ministerial meeting of South Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) member states, which contributed forces to fight for South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. After concluding his visit to South Korea, Austin will travel to Indonesia.