SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) — South Korea and the United States plan to carry out a joint exercise this week on shaping deterrence strategies to counter threats from North Korea, the defense ministry here said Tuesday.
The allies will hold the annual discussion-based tabletop exercise (TTX) at Seoul’s state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) for three days starting Wednesday “to discuss how to politically and militarily respond to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles,” according to the ministry.
South Korea will be represented by Ryu Je-seung, South Korea’s Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy, and the U.S. by Elaine Bunn, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy and David Helvey, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, the ministry said, adding some 40 officials from the two sides will be on hand.
Prior to the exercise, Seoul and Washington plan to hold the “Track 1.5” deterrence dialogue bringing together security experts and TTX participants to check the allies’ readiness posture and to explore ways to strengthen defense capabilities, the ministry said.
The TTX, organized by the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee (EDPC), which is the allies’ cooperation mechanism on enhancing extended deterrence, is the fourth of its kind since the inauguration drill in 2011. The term “extended deterrence” refers to a pledge by a nuclear power to protect an ally with no atomic weapons.
“The TTX this year will be the first one that the South Korean ministry took the lead from planning to the execution,” the ministry said in a release.
“We expect the exercise to lay the groundwork for the allies to have in-depth discussions and to practically implement their strong will and policy measures against North Korea’s threats posed by its nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles,” it added.