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S. Korea, U.S. confirm alliance will respond 'decisively' to potential N. Korean nuclear test during biannual defense talks Updated: 2022-08-18 07:03:42 KST

North Korea's latest display of defiance comes amid defense talks between Seoul and Washington during which the two parties reaffirmed their commitment to regional safety in the wake of Pyeongyang's persistent provocations.
Our Unification Ministry Correspondent Han Seong-woo has details.

South Korea and the United States have reaffirmed their common goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
At the 21st Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue held in Seoul this week, delegations led by South Korea's deputy defense minister for policy Heo Tae-keun and his American counterpart Siddharth Mohandas discussed a wide range of regional security issues especially North Korea's evolving missile and nuclear threats.
The allies agreed to expand the scale of joint military drills as a follow-up to next week's Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise.
During which, they plan to evaluate the South Korean military's Full Operational Capability the second part of the three-stage process required to transfer wartime operation control to South Korea.
In addition, South Korea and the U.S. shared information on the North's Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site and confirmed the alliance would respond "decisively" to a seventh nuclear test by Pyeongyang, including through the deployment of U.S. strategic assets.
According to a press release from South Korea's Defense Ministry, Heo and Mohandas also agreed that GSOMIA, or the General Security of Military Information Agreement between Seoul and Tokyo, continues to serve an important role in the trilateral security cooperation with Washington.
Minister Lee Jong-sub had voiced the need to normalize the intelligence sharing pact during a parliamentary session early this month.
Another item on the Defense Dialogue's agenda was the missile defense system known as THAAD which Heo and Mohandas assessed as crucial to the defense of civilians and troops in South Korea.
A Defense Ministry official told reporters Wednesday that the U.S. appreciates how the THAAD base in Seongju-gun County, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province has been made more accessible to trucks delivering food and other goods.
Access had been restricted due to protests by local residents.
The allies also confirmed their Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group will be reactivated sometime this September and revealed a new working group on counter-missile efforts will be launched.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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