South Korea and the United States have agreed to regularize their talks on extended deterrence to better counter North Korea's growing missile and nuclear threats, the foreign ministry here said Monday.
The decision came one day after North Korea conducted what it claimed to be a successful test of a hydrogen bomb mountable onto an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The allies launched the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group involving senior foreign affairs and defense officials late last year.
South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo (Yonhap)
In a joint press release, the ministry said it will be operated on two tracks -- an executive session led by vice minister-level officials and a plenary session led by director general-level officials.
The working-level session will be held annually and the senior-level session will take place in conjunction with the plenary session on years when the so-called 2+2 meeting involving defense and foreign ministers does not occur, the ministry said.
Extended deterrence refers to the US commitment to mobilize its full range of conventional and strategic military assets including nuclear capability to protect its allies.
The EDSCG was launched during the meeting of the two countries' foreign and defense ministers in Washington in October. The first meeting was held in December.
The allies said that they will hold the next EDSCG meeting in the near future.
The move came after the North said on Sunday that it has successfully carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, prompting global condemnation.
"North Korea's dangerous and destabilizing pursuit of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles represents a threat to all nations in the region and beyond," the allies said in the press release.
"These actions will not alter the ironclad commitment of the United States and the Republic of Korea alliance to defend the ROK. North Korea's recent provocations and belligerent rhetoric only drives the United States and the ROK to work more closely to defend against and counter this grave threat," it added. (Yonhap)