February 01, 2023 13:00
The U.S. on Tuesday agreed to send top-of-the-range U.S armaments stealth fighter jets and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to South Korea more often to deter North Korean provocations.
The two countries' defense chiefs in a meeting also agreed to stage a new nuclear tabletop exercise in the U.S. in February and schedule Defense Trilateral Talks between South Korea, Japan and the U.S. as early as possible.
Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters in Seoul that North Korea has been carrying out an "unprecedented number of provocations" that violated international law and caused instability in the region last year.
"Our commitment to the defense of [South Korea] remains ironclad, and the United States stands firm in its extended deterrence commitment," Austin said.
He promised more deployment of the U.S. fifth-generation fighter jets such as F-22s and F-35s as well as aircraft carrier strike groups like the USS Ronald Reagan here, adding that the two countries will prepare by staging an extended-deterrence tabletop exercise in February.
The two defense chiefs did not touch on recent proposals both here and in the U.S. for South Korea to acquire its own nuclear weapons.
President Yoon Suk-yeol also met with Austin but only hinted at the issue, calling for "an effective and strong extended deterrence system that can dispel South Korean people's concern about North Korea's evolving nuclear threat."
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