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US military chief vows to provide 'extended deterrence' to S. Korea

(Joint Chiefs of Staff)
(Joint Chiefs of Staff)
The United States has reaffirmed its commitment to South Korea's security, including providing "extended deterrence," during annual talks between the military chiefs of the two countries, both sides said Wednesday.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman (JCS) Gen. Mark Milley made the remark Tuesday during the 45th Military Committee Meeting (MCM) via videoconference with his South Korean counterpart, Gen. Won In-choul, days after North Korea unveiled a massive new intercontinental missile (ICBM) and other weapons.

"Gen. Milley reiterated the United States' firm commitments to the Republic of Korea and to providing extended deterrence," a joint statement said.

Extended deterrence refers to the US commitment to use a full range of military capabilities, including its nuclear umbrella, to protect its allies from enemies' nuclear and missile threats. 

During the talks, the two leaders recognized that the alliance has "remained the linchpin" for regional security for the past seven decades, and discussed specific measures to strengthen their defense posture and enhance cooperation. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Gen. Won praised joint efforts to maintain the alliance's "Fight Tonight" readiness despite COVID-19 difficulties.

Tuesday's meeting was also attended by Maj. Gen. Jung Sang-hwa, acting chief director of JCS Directorate for Strategic Planning.

From the US side, Indo-Pacific Command leader Adm. Philip Davidson and US Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams joined the meeting.

The MCM is held every year, usually a day before the defense ministers of the two countries hold the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM). This year's SCM is slated to be held in Washington on Wednesday. (Yonhap)