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Joint SK-US drill to cope with N. Korean nuclear threat

Posted November. 05, 2011 00:27,   


South Korea and the U.S. will conduct a joint exercise to politically and militarily cope with a crisis situation in which North Korea threatens the South with nuclear weapons.

The Defense Ministry in Seoul said Friday that it will conduct for the first time a tabletop exercise organized by the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee at the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday and Wednesday. The command is the unit that manages nuclear weapons in the U.S.

The tabletop exercise is a follow-up measure to the Security Consultative Meeting held in Seoul on Oct. 28, where South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta agreed to further develop the deterrence committee, which is a bilateral cooperation mechanism for enhancing extended deterrence.

Lim Kwan-bin, South Korean deputy defense minister for policy, will attend the exercise, as well as Michael Schiffer, deputy U.S. assistant defense secretary for East Asia, and Bradley Roberts, deputy assistant defense secretary for nuclear and missile defense policy.

Assuming two to three possible scenarios in connection with North Korea’s nuclear weapons, the participants will discuss and exercise how to deal with such situations politically and militarily. After conducting the tabletop exercise two or three times, the two allies will develop a “customized deterrence strategy” by applying specific implementation measures to counter the North’s nuclear weapons.

Measures under consideration by Seoul and Washington to cope with Pyongyang’s nuclear threat include a nuclear umbrella, conventional attack forces and a ballistic missile defense.

The South Korean Defense Ministry said, “Extended deterrence refers to a scheme in which South Korea and the U.S. use diverse measures, including political, diplomatic and economic measures, to prevent North Korea from using nuclear weapons if and when it makes threats with nuclear weapons.”

On the move by Seoul and Washington to strengthen their military alliance, including the development of customized deterrence strategy, Pyongyang said earlier Thursday, “This is an act of aggression meant to launch a war, which is extremely dangerous.” in a statement issued by the North Korea National People’s Committee for Peace Promotion.