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Seoul, Washington conduct table-top simulation for nuclear contingencies

Seoul, Washington conduct table-top simulation for nuclear contingencies

Posted May. 24, 2023 07:56,   

Updated May. 24, 2023 07:56


The Presidential Office of South Korea and the White House reportedly conducted a joint government-wide nuclear umbrella operation simulation (TTS) training last month, prior to the Washington summit between South Korea and the United States. This marks the first time that the highest-level organizations of both countries, rather than the military authorities, have led a nuclear umbrella response training, assuming a staged nuclear provocation scenario by North Korea. This suggests that “table-top simulation” or TTS, whose impending introduction was specified in the “Washington Declaration,” the strengthened measure of extended deterrence (nuclear umbrella) agreed upon from the summit meeting last month, had actually been put into operation.

According to The Dong-A Ilbo's coverage on Tuesday, the government-wide nuclear umbrella operation training led by the Blue House and the White House took place before President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visit to the United States. It was revealed that Defense Secretary Im Gi-hoon participated in the training as a representative from the Korean side. TTS is a training program where officials from South Korea and the United States discuss and simulate specific procedures and methods in response to North Korea's staged nuclear provocation scenarios, including nuclear threats, imminent use of nuclear weapons, and actual use of nuclear weapons.

The Washington Declaration explicitly states, "The Alliance has established a new bilateral, interagency table-top simulation to strengthen our joint approach to planning for nuclear contingencies." A senior government official said that this was to "enhance the execution and specificity of extended deterrence provided to South Korea." South Korea and the United States have agreed to establish a Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) for such discussions and are preparing for its operation.

This TTS conducted before the South Korea-U.S. summit differs from the previous Table-top Exercise (TTX) conducted between military authorities, as it involves higher-level participants and expands the scope of response to the government-wide level, allowing for closer coordination between South Korea and the United States in the process of providing extended deterrence.

"Since it is a government-wide exercise, it can be seen as assuming actual battles,” a government source said. “Compared to TTX, TTS is closer to simulation training for actual scenarios."

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com · Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com