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S. Korea, U.S. form joint defense committee to counter N. Korean threats Updated: 2015-04-16 18:29:46 KST


Seoul and Washington have agreed to form a 'Deterrence Strategic Committee.'
The deal was signed by deputy-level defense ministers from South Korea and the U.S. in Washington on Wednesday, local time.
The details of how the new committee will carry out its mission are not yet known, but officials did say it aims to combine and expand the operational plans from both countries in order to more effectively deter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats.
On the same day, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea, General Curtis Scaparrotti addressed House lawmakers in the U.S. and said although Pyongyang has not tested the nuclear-tipped ballistic missile it claims to have, it is his job to assume that the regime has one, and must act on that basis.
He reiterated the need for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD battery deployment to South Korea saying it would give the U.S. a high-tier defense system and enhance the capability of Patriot anti-missile batteries currently on the Korean peninsula.
U.S. under secretary of defense for policy Christine Wormuth echoed his thoughts and told the committee that America needs to be prudent and plan for the worst case scenario in terms of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction capabilities.
The deputy-level meeting and the hearing follow last week's talks between Korean and American defense chiefs in Seoul, where they said there was no official discussion of THAAD.
Until official meetings take place, the deployment remains in the realm of possibility.
Laah Hyun-kyung, Arirang News.
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