Nuclear Planning Talks on Agenda for US and South Korea

( – Defense officials from the United States and South Korea met in Seoul on Monday to discuss new guidelines for coordinating their responses to any nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

According to a joint statement on Monday’s closed-door talks, the guidelines would lay out the procedures for maintaining an effective and credible nuclear deterrence policy.

The meeting comes as Pyongyang continues to develop nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Some elected officials in Seoul, including senior members of the ruling party of President Yoon Suk Yeol, have called for South Korea to develop nuclear weapons itself instead of simply relying on the United States. However, Washington opposes such a move.

The meeting on Monday was a follow-up on a summit last year, during which the US vowed to include South Korea in its planning for any nuclear conflict with North Korea.

The talks were co-chaired by the US acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Vipin Narang.

In a press conference following the talks, Narang said the guidelines discussed involved “the principals and procedures” in the event of a nuclear crisis with North Korea and consultations on “operational concepts and exercises.”

The Deputy Defense Minister for Policy, South Korea’s Cho Chang-rae, told reporters that ranking officials from both the US and South Korea would conduct a simulated tabletop exercise ahead of the upcoming joint military drills, focusing on the potential use of nuclear weapons by the North.

Technically, North and South Korea remain at war since the conflict that began in 1950 ended not with a peace treaty but with an armistice.

Late last month, Pyongyang attempted to launch a reconnaissance satellite into orbit but failed after the rocket engine exploded. The launch was condemned by both the US and South Korea for violating UN Security Council sanctions barring the North from using ballistic technology.

The next joint meeting of US and South Korean defense officials is expected to take place in Washington in late 2024.

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