South Korea, US Reportedly Discussing Joint Nuclear Exercises

South Korea's Pres. Yoon Suk-yeol has revealed that Seoul and Washington are discussing joint exercises involving US nuclear assets aimed at extended deterrence amid mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea, US Reportedly Discussing Joint Nuclear Exercises
Image credit: AP [via The Wall Street Journal]

Facts

  • South Korea's Pres. Yoon Suk-yeol has revealed that Seoul and Washington are discussing joint exercises involving US nuclear assets aimed at extended deterrence amid mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
  • In an interview published on Monday, Yoon stated that the strategy of being under the US "nuclear umbrella" is no longer enough as Pyongyang has developed nuclear weapons, adding that the US has been positive about intelligence sharing, joint planning, and joint exercises.
  • When asked if the discussions could culminate in a South Korean version of nuclear sharing, he stressed that the US is "uncomfortable" with this concept but pointed out that they could develop an effective measure "as good as nuclear sharing."
  • Reacting to Yoon's remarks, a Pentagon spokesperson reportedly said that there was nothing to announce about the "rock-solid" alliance between South Korea and the US.
  • This comes a day after North Korean media reported that Kim Jong Un vowed an "exponential increase" of Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal and the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile to counter alleged hostilities emanating from South Korea and the US.
  • Meanwhile, The Korea Times reported Monday that a senior analyst on North Korea believes that Pyongyang will likely carry out its highly anticipated nuclear test within the coming weeks — no later than Feb. 16, the birthday of Kim Jong Un's father.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, YNA, Reuters, Al Jazeera, and Korea Times.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by China Daily. It's up to the US to put an end to mutual provocations and threats, but it has instead strengthened alliances and boosted joint military drills around the Korean Peninsula while Western propaganda machines spread misinformation to raise suspicion and distrust against Pyongyang. The only way to prevent an open conflict is for the US to cease hostilities and address North Korea's calls for sanctions to be dropped.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by VOA. The US has sought for years to strike a deal with Pyongyang to contain North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, but all viable options have been exhausted as Kim's regime refuses to engage in dialogue. Now, it's time for Washington to increase defense cooperation with regional partners Japan and South Korea to focus on deterring Pyongyang from using its weapons to launch attacks against them.

Predictions