A delegation representing South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol met with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Washington on Tuesday.
Among the topics of discussion was South Korea’s desire to deploy more US “strategic assets” to “enhance extended deterrence” as tensions with North Korea rise.
North Korea welcomed the new government to Seoul by sparking a bizarrely vicious brawl over a routine speech by the outgoing administration’s defense minister. Taking into account North Korea’s hyperbolic response, dictator Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong threatens to attack Seoul with nuclear weapons on Tuesday.
South Korea has long been accustomed to the belligerent rhetoric of psychotic communist tyranny in its north, but meeting Sullivan suggests Yoon has real concerns about escalating tensions as he takes office.
Speaking on behalf of South Korea’s new president, Representative Park Jin of Yoon’s People Power Party – a leading contender for foreign minister in the new administration – led the usual White House banter before hold what he described as “consultations on ways to improve the joint South Korean-U.S. defense posture and enhance U.S. extended deterrence.
“The deployment of strategic assets is an important part of enhancing extended deterrence, as I mentioned earlier. You may understand that South Korea and the United States discussed the issue today along these lines,” Park said.
Yonhap News The “strategic assets” noted are generally interpreted to mean “formidable military hardware such as nuclear-powered submarines, aircraft carriers and long-range bombers”.
“The South Korean Ministry of Defense said earlier in a report to President-elect Yoon’s transition team that it planned to hold discussions with the United States on the deployment of American strategic assets in South Korea. South amid rising tensions with North Korea,” Yonhap reported.
After meeting with US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Park noted the White House agreed on “the importance of renewing the activities of the Extended Deterrence Advisory Group, which have not worked as they should”.
The Moon administration has apparently lost interest in some of the consultations Park referred to, preferring instead to pursue diplomacy with the North Korean regime. Yoon ran on a hardening platform with Pyongyang after Moon’s dovish strategy failed to deliver meaningful results.
Foreign Police argued in March that the Moon administration had fundamentally misunderstood the nature and goals of the Kim regime, which wants to absorb or conquer South Korea under the guise of ‘reunification’, not develop a lasting peaceful relationship with Seoul .
Yoon promised “strategic clarity” in declaring South Korea’s pro-US stance on US-China relations issues. The president-elect also spoke about the importance of liberal democracy and human rights in Seoul’s foreign policy,” he added. Foreign Police added.
If Yoon is truly determined to stand up to China, his determination to secure more strategic US assets should give him a chance to challenge very soon. China is reliably furious by the deployment of such US assets in South Korea, in part because the Chinese claim that advanced US sensor systems can see beyond North Korean territory and into China.
Yoon also has promised to resume joint military exercises with the United States after Moon scaled them back to appease Pyongyang. In fact, Yoon reportedly wanted to expand the exercises to increase their deterrent value, perhaps adding nuclear-capable bombers for the first time in five years.
Park did not directly address those reports at the White House, though he suggested spring drills could resume this year.
“We agreed that the most important thing is to maintain deterrence so that we can respond forcefully to any North Korean provocations,” he said.
“Issues related to North Korea’s nuclear threats, economic security and many other challenges are presented, and we want to step up the comprehensive strategic alliance to handle these issues together,” Park said. noted.