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S. Korea, US to discuss holding EDSCG meeting in Seoul

Posted August. 08, 2023 08:02,   

Updated August. 08, 2023 08:02


South Korea and the U.S. are discussing a plan to hold a high-level meeting of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) in Seoul next month. It is a plan to operate an extended deterrence consultation channel to be attended by the South Korean vice ministers and the U.S. deputy secretaries of foreign affairs and national defense next month, following the first meeting of the Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) held last month according to the ‘Washington Declaration’ announced during the earlier summit. The presidents of the two countries will discuss extended deterrence at a bilateral talk, which will be held during the summit among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan next Friday.

According to a government source on Sunday, South Korea and the U.S. authorities are discussing how their representatives will release strategic warning messages against North Korea regarding strategic assets, etc. before and after an EDSCG meeting to be held in Seoul next month. The representatives visited Joint Base Andrews in the U.S. and inspected B-52 strategic bombers during the last year’s EDSCG meeting. The fourth EDSCG meeting is the first to be held in Seoul. The South Korean side proposed holding the meeting this month, but the U.S. suggested holding it next month due to the timing of replacing its under secretary of defense for policy.

The EDSCG is a high-level consultation group to have policy and strategic discussions on how the U.S. will provide South Korea with extended deterrence through its nuclear and conventional forces in case of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and provocations. After it was launched during the Park Keun-hey administration in October 2016, the second meeting was held in January 2018 during the Moon Jae-in administration. After four years since then, it was resumed last year under the Yoon Suk Yeol administration. South Korea and the U.S. announced a joint statement for the first time right after an EDSCG meeting last year. They agreed on an ‘immediate, overwhelming and decisive response to any North Korean nuclear attack,’ reconfirm‎ing the U.S.’s provision of extended deterrence in case of the North’s use of strategic nuclear weapons against the South. “As the Washington Declaration was made and the NCG is in operation this year, even a stronger message to deter North Korea than the last year’s will be announced during this year’s EDSCG meeting,” said a government source.

South Korea and the U.S. will operate the two-track consultation bodies of the EDSCG and NCG, which are specialized for extended deterrence. They are consultation bodies in which South Korea proactively discusses joint planning and joint execution with the U.S. with a focus on nuclear operation. The existing Deterrence Strategy Committee (DSC), which is a consultation group attended by the national defense assistant minister and assistant secretary of the two countries dealing with extended deterrence in military and national defense policies, will be absorbed into and replaced by the NCG. The NCG and EDSCG will create synergy with each other, according to a senior member of the South Korean presidential office.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com