South Korea and the United States wrapped up a high-profile military session Wednesday aimed at countering threats from North Korea's nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
About 40 defense and foreign affairs government officials took part in the two-day Extended Deterrence Policy Committee Tabletop Exercise held at U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, the Pentagon said. It was the third of its kind.
"The exercise scenario is designed to allow officials to explore a range of possible alliance responses to a nuclear crisis involving the Republic of Korea," it said in a press release, using South Korea's official name.
While North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, South Korea has no nuclear program for military purposes. It instead depends on the so-called nuclear umbrella of the United States for cooperative deterrence.
The Pentagon said the 2014 exercise is part of a series of such engagements conducted to improve alliance understanding of the deterrence and extended deterrence concepts, crisis-decision making and the requirements for an effective combined approach to deterrence.
"The exercise adds to the baseline of shared information and knowledge on how best to tailor deterrence for the Korean Peninsula, and communicates alliance resolve and solidarity in the face of North Korean nuclear and other WMD threats," it added.
The exercise program included briefings on key defense capabilities, discussions on nuclear threat scenarios and site-visits to related U.S. military facilities.
South Korea's delegation was headed by Deputy Minister for Policy at the Ministry of National Defense Yoo Jeh-seung. The U.S. team was co-led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Elaine Bunn and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Helvey. (Yonhap News)