Biden denies US in talks on nuclear exercises with South Korea | Politics News

US not discussing joint nuclear exercises with South Korea, US President Joe Biden said, seemingly contradictory speech by his Korean counterpart, President Yoon Suk-yeolthat Washington and Seoul are negotiating exercises related to US nuclear assets.

The South Korean president said in a newspaper interview that Seoul and Washington are “negotiating about joint planning and exercises related to US nuclear assets to counter North Korea’s nuclear threats.” “.

Asked by reporters at the White House on Monday if he was discussing joint nuclear exercises with South Korea, Biden said: “No.”

Comments by President Yoon, in an interview published in the Chosun Ilbo newspaper on Monday, comes at a time of rising tensions with North Koreatest-fired an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles in 2022 and has promises to be strong against what it sees as military plans of the United States and South Korea for a possible invasion.

In response to North Korea’s sword attack, Yoon took an increasingly tough stance and called for “war preparation” with “overwhelming” capabilities.

The paper quoted Yoon as saying that the plan and the joint exercises would aim to more effectively carry out the US “extended deterrence”, referring to the capabilities of the US military – especially the US military. nuclear – in preventing attacks on US allies.

Yoon told the newspaper that in order to better deal with North Korea’s nuclear threats, Seoul wants to participate in the operation of the US nuclear force.

“Nuclear weapons belong to the United States, but planning, information sharing, exercises and training should be conducted jointly by South Korea and the United States,” Yoon said, adding that Washington was also “quite active.” about this idea.

On Tuesday, Yoon’s senior secretary for press affairs, Kim Eun-hye, said Biden must say no when asked a direct question about such a sensitive issue, according to the news agency. South Korea’s Yonhap.

“When a Reuters reporter asked him if joint nuclear exercises were discussed, President Biden clearly had to say: ‘No’,” Kim said in a statement, according to Yonhap.

“South Korea and the United States are negotiating on information sharing, joint planning and subsequent joint implementation plans, regarding the operation of US nuclear facilities, in response to the nuclear weapons of the United States.” North Korea,” she said.

The apparently contradictory statements emerging from Seoul and Washington appear to cause some confusion.

A senior Biden administration official appeared to have offered some clarity when he told Reuters news agency that joint nuclear exercises were not planned with South Korea because Seoul is not a major power. Nuclear.

The official said the US and South Korea are looking at increasing information sharing, expanding contingencies and eventually joint exercises.

Extended deterrence

Thomas Countryman, the former acting undersecretary of state for arms control who chaired the first meeting of the dialogue, said the US has long had an expanded deterrence dialogue with Japan to talk about potential threats. nuclear issue and initiated a similar dialogue with South Korea in 2016.

Countryman said Monday in a phone interview: “It’s not yet clear what’s new in Chairman Yoon’s statement and what is the wording of what’s happening.

Countryman said Yoon’s comments, aimed at the people of South Korea, appeared to be in response to what he called North Korea’s Provocations and rhetoric.

“I really see this as an effort by both President Yoon and the Biden administration to reassure the South Korean government and people that the commitment of the United States remains unwavering.”

At a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party in North Korea last week, Kim Jong Un said South Korea had become an “unquestionable enemy” and set new military goals, alluding to a year more of weapons tests and tension.

Inter-Korean relations have long been strained but have become even more strained since Yoon took office in May, promising a tougher stance towards North Korea.

On Sunday, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile off its east coast in a rare late-night weapons test on New Year’s Day, following three ballistic missiles launched on Saturday.

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