In an effort to better confront North Korea’s threats, South Korea and the United States will conduct tabletop drills in Washington, D.C., the week after next, according to Seoul’s defense ministry on February 17.
Nuclear-armed North Korea launched a record number of missiles in 2018, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of striking anyplace in the United States, and resumed preparations for its first nuclear test since 2017.
The ministry stated that the exercises, known as the Deterrence Strategy Committee Tabletop Exercise, are slated for February 22 at the Pentagon and would involve senior defense policymakers from both sides.
It would be their first such exercise since agreeing to undertake them yearly last year, as Seoul aims to strengthen trust in American extended deterrence — the United States’ military capabilities, particularly its nuclear assets, to deter assaults on its allies.
The US team will be led by Siddharth Mohandas, deputy assistant defense secretary for East Asia, and Richard Johnson, deputy assistant defense secretary for nuclear and countering weapons of mass destruction strategy.
“With a focus on North Korea’s nuclear threats, both parties will engage in in-depth discussions on different methods to improve US extended deterrence, including intelligence exchange and consultation processes,” according to a statement from the ministry.
The officials will visit the Kings Bay naval station in Georgia, which houses critical nuclear submarines, on February 23.
The allies have said that they are trying to improve nuclear strategy, implementation, and information sharing.
In May, both military will conduct their first tabletop exercises, which will be “much more concrete and meaningful” than forthcoming programs.
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