Washington/ Seoul: Claiming mounting North Korean threats to regional stability, “in part facilitated by third parties’ shielding of the DPRK from consequences for its brazen UNSCR violations”, the United States today underlined its “ironclad and unwavering” security commitment to the Republic of Korea (ROK- South Korea), using the full range of US defence capabilities, including nuclear, conventional, missile defence, and other advanced non-nuclear capabilities, to provide extended deterrence for the ROK.
Following the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean President Kim Kim Jong Un at the Vostochny Spaceport in Russia, a worried North Korea (Republic of Korea – ROK) today hosted its first deterrence strategy meeting today in Seoul in which the United States participated.
Both sides reaffirmed that any nuclear attack by the DPRK against the ROK would be met with a “swift, overwhelming, and decisive” response. The US side, headed by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Bonnie Jenkins and Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Sasha Baker, also reiterated that any nuclear attack by the DPRK against the United States or its allies “is unacceptable and will result in the end of the Kim regime”. ROK First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Chang Hojin and ROK Vice Minister of National Defense Shin Beomchul led the ROK delegation.
Both the US and the ROK expressed their “strongest” concern about DPRK-Russia cooperation which they claimed to be inconsistent with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. They discussed its implications for DPRK’s attempts to advance its” illicit” nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, as well as the threat posed by DPRK’s assistance to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Both Washington and Seoul agreed on the importance of upholding and fully implementing all relevant UNSC resolutions.
Overall, this was the fourth Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) meeting between the two countries but the first in South Korea, building on the May 2022 summit statement by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and US President Joe Biden to reactivate the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG).
According to a joint statement released after the meeting, this fourth meeting of the EDSCG advanced US and ROK comprehensive discussions on strategy and policy issues to strengthen Alliance deterrence on the Korean Peninsula and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Both sides shared their assessments and concerns about the DPRK’s “threatening and irresponsible rhetoric and behaviour”, including its ongoing missile launches and continued pursuit of destabilizing and illicit Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programmes.
Seoul and Washington reaffirmed the commitment of both nations to use all available levers—including diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools—to strengthen deterrence and reinforce the U.S. security commitment to the ROK. Both sides examined the recent progress they made to strengthen extended deterrence, including through the April 2023 Washington Declaration and the successful establishment of the ROK-US Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) in July 2023. They reviewed their ongoing bilateral cooperation to deter DPRK nuclear and non-nuclear aggression and thus enhance security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. They also discussed various measures to further strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture.
Both sides further reaffirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the DPRK in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. They emphasized that the DPRK’s unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches, including multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and space launches using ballistic missile technology seriously undermine regional and global security.
The two sides agreed to further enhance coordination to address DPRK sanctions evasion and illicit cyber activities, using diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools. The United States reiterated its strong support for the goals of the ROK’s “Audacious Initiative”. Both sides recognized the importance of the strategic use of information for enhancing deterrence.
As bilateral cooperation on extended deterrence is “advancing rapidly”, the participants affirmed the importance of high-level policy and strategic coordination. The EDSCG, mutually complementary with other alliance bodies, will facilitate a strategic whole-of-government approach to strengthen US and ROK extended deterrence cooperation and thus enhance security on the Korean Peninsula and promote regional peace and stability. The next high-level EDSCG engagement will be held in 2024.
Earlier, the US State Department stated in Washington that the US had reasons to believe that both Kim and Putin were going to discuss military transfers – “that is quite troubling and would potentially be in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions”.
– global bihari bureau