S. Korea, U.S. endorse 'tailored deterrence strategy' against N. Korean threats
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sat down for the 45th Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul on Wednesday, after which they adopted a joint declaration that contains 13 military agreements.
Among them is the endorsement of a "tailored deterrence strategy" against North Korean nuclear and missile threats.
"South Korea and the U.S. have completed a tailored deterrence strategy optimized to effectively address rising North Korean nuclear threats after its third nuclear test."
Under the strategy, the integration of the Korea-U.S. alliance will be strengthened to maximize the deterrent effect against North Korean nuclear threats sorted by scenario.
And when signs of North Korean nuclear activity are detected, the combined forces will use all possible miliary capabilites available from the ground, sea and air, to launch countermeasures.
The two defense chiefs also reaffirmed the need to work together for a comphrehensive, interoperable missile defense system, which includes the "Kill Chain" and Korea Air and Missile Defense systems currently being developed by the Korean military.
But there was no conclusion on the matter of the transfer of wartime operational control from the U.S. to Korea set for 2015.
Secretary Hagel said he takes the OPCON issues raised by the Korean military seriously, but added the U.S. will not make any decisions now.
"We've had good discussions regarding the timing of the OPCON transfer and I look forward to continuing consultations on this issue in the weeks and the months ahead."
Minister Kim had asked Washington in May to delay the OPCON transfer in light of North Korea's nuclear threats.
"The two countries have agreed to immediately form a working group that will regularly discuss and assess combat readiness of South Korea, which is the prime condition for the transition.
Han Da-eun, Arirang News."
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