South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the Korean and US defense ministers held talks on the sidelines of a security forum in Singapore on Saturday to discuss North Korea’s “joint deterrence against nuclear and missile threats.”
On the sidelines of the annual “Shangri-La Dialogue”, Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sub met his US counterpart Lloyd Austin amid concerns that Pyongyang may conduct a seventh nuclear test.
“We basically discussed various ways to increase the enforceability of extended deterrence,” Lee Jong told reporters after these talks, without further details. Austin stressed Washington’s determination to provide “extended deterrence” that encompasses the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities, according to the Defense Ministry in Seoul.
The two ministers reiterated the two countries’ commitment to expanding the scope and scale of joint military exercises as agreed upon during last month’s summit between President Yoon Seok-yeol and his US counterpart Joe Biden.
Li used the talks to stress the importance of joint efforts to revitalize the two countries’ Expanded Deterrence Strategy Advisory Group, and theoretical simulation exercises on using deterrence assets and deploying US strategic military assets in a coordinated and timely manner, according to the ministry.
The two sides also strongly condemned the recent series of missile launches by North Korea and its preparations for a nuclear test, describing them as “provocative actions that seriously threaten peace and stability” on the peninsula and beyond.
This was the first face-to-face talks between Lee Jong and Austin since the Korean Defense Minister took office last month