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Following a closed-door meeting between top US defense officials and their South Korean counterparts, new guidelines have been developed to coordinate responses to any nuclear threat from North Korea.

The Ministry of National Defense in Seoul confirmed the completion of a review of the joint guidelines for responding to potential nuclear attacks by North Korea. Following the NCG meeting, the ministry described the guidelines as a “solid foundation for enhanced and integrated extended deterrence cooperation between South Korea and the US.”


The meeting occurred against the backdrop of North Korea’s accelerated efforts to advance its nuclear arms and delivery systems. In light of these developments, some South Korean politicians, including influential members of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s party, have advocated for Seoul to develop its own nuclear arsenal. This stance differs from the United State’s preference for reliance on the US nuclear umbrella.

Cho Chang-rae, South Korea’s deputy defense minister for policy, mentioned that high-level officials from both countries plan to conduct a simulated tabletop exercise focusing on the scenario of North Korea deploying a nuclear weapon. This will take place before their regular summertime drills.

Vipin Narang, the acting US assistant secretary of defense for space policy and co-chair of the talks, emphasized that the new guidelines establish a framework for integrating conventional and nuclear capabilities, which will be presented to each nation’s leadership during a crisis. He noted, “The guidelines cover the principles and procedures for consultations, particularly in a DPRK nuclear crisis and inform alliance operational concepts and exercises.”


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