The Department of Defense and South Korean Ministry of National Defense wrapped up their fifth defense dialogue in Washington this week with an agreement to “substantively” increase cooperation against North Korean aggression.
Over the course of the two-day meeting, ROK Deputy Minister for Defense Policy Yoo Jeh Seung met with the U.S. Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Mark Lippert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Helvey, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Elaine Bunn, the Pentagon said.
“The two sides reaffirmed the shared view that recent North Korean provocations, including recent missile launches, artillery fire in the Yellow Sea, the infiltration of small unmanned aerial vehicles, and the looming threat of a fourth nuclear test undermine stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region. The two sides also addressed ways to strengthen coordinated actions and the importance of continued close collaboration within the alliance to enable better deterrence of and response to North Korean provocations,” the DoD described the meeting.
“The two sides discussed ways to strengthen the combined defense posture to defend the Republic of Korea and to deter North Korean aggression by enhancing combined Alliance capabilities, and continuing combined exercises. The ROK and U.S. also discussed the ROK proposed conditions-based approach to wartime OPCON transition. The ROK and the U.S. will continue cooperating to develop the future command structure, combined operational plans, ROK critical military capabilities, and U.S. bridging and enduring capabilities.”
Particularly welcome was the South Korean National Assembly’s recent ratification of more cost-sharing support to “offset costs associated with stationing U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula.”
“The 2014-2018 agreement will provide for continued ROK support in logistics, labor, and construction and will help ensure that we have the resources necessary for the combined defense of the Korean Peninsula,” the Pentagon said.
“The two sides also addressed various areas of alliance cooperation, including regional and global cooperation, and efforts to counter weapons of mass destruction and interdiction, command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence interoperability, and cyber and space cooperation.”
That included a “continued U.S. commitment to provide and strengthen extended deterrence for the ROK using the full range of military capabilities, including the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense capabilities.”
“The two countries discussed implementation of the tailored deterrence strategy to include combined exercises to ensure that deterrence and extended deterrence remains credible, capable, and enduring,” the Pentagon continued. “Both sides also discussed efforts to counter North Korean missile threats, including the continued combined development of comprehensive counter-missile capabilities to detect, defend against, disrupt, and destroy North Korean missile threats, in particular strengthened missile defense interoperability, including the ROK ‘Kill Chain’ and Korean air and missile defense systems.”
A sixth round of talks is scheduled in Seoul this July.