The Korea Herald


Yoon says S. Korea, US will complete strengthened extended deterrence regime in first half of 2024

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 1, 2024 - 10:49

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President Yoon Seok Yeol delivers a New Year's Day address at the presidential office in Yongsan, Seoul, on Monday. (Office of the President of the Republic of Korea) President Yoon Seok Yeol delivers a New Year's Day address at the presidential office in Yongsan, Seoul, on Monday. (Office of the President of the Republic of Korea)

President Yoon Suk Yeol said Monday that South Korea and the United States will complete a strengthened "extended deterrence" regime in the first half of 2024 to seal off North Korea's nuclear and missile threats at their source.

Yoon made the remark in a New Year's Day address as he stressed his commitment to building a "genuine and lasting peace" through strength.

"By the first half of this year, we will complete the enhanced South Korea-US extended deterrence system to fundamentally deter any North Korean nuclear and missile threats," he said from the presidential office. "Strong security will underpin free economic activities. It will allow the people to carry out their daily lives without fear."

Extended deterrence refers to the US commitment to defending an ally with all of its military capabilities, including nuclear weapons.

Under the Yoon administration, Seoul and Washington have stepped up cooperation on nuclear planning and operations to better counter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

During the second meeting of the allies' Nuclear Consultative Group in December, the two sides agreed to complete a set of guidelines for a shared nuclear strategy by the middle of 2024.

North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile days later, with leader Kim Jong-un saying the launch showed what option he would take "when Washington makes a wrong decision."

Yoon devoted a large portion of his address to economic issues, saying the past year was difficult for many people as high interest rates, high inflation and high oil prices hampered the nation's economic recovery.

"We will make this year one that energizes your daily lives," he said. "The warmth of economic achievement and recovery will reach every corner of our society."

In particular, Yoon promised to increase the supply of urban housing so that people will not have to move to city outskirts in search of new homes.

"We will expedite redevelopment and reconstruction projects by reviewing their procedures from scratch," he said. "We will also expand the supply of small units suitable for one- or two-person households."

Yoon also vowed to continue his push for deregulation to spur more investment by businesses and thoroughly support cutting-edge industries to encourage business creativity and innovation.

He reaffirmed his commitment to driving out "cartels with vested interests," a reference to corruption among public officials and various interest groups, and delivering results in the top three reform areas of labor, education and pensions.

"Labor reforms start with the rule of law in labor-management relations," he said. "Law abiding labor movements will be fully guaranteed. However, illegal activities -- whether arising from labor unions or management -- will be sternly dealt with."

Yoon also noted the urgency of tackling the country's low birth rate.

"There is not much time left," he said. "We need a completely different approach as we look for the causes and find solutions to the problem." (Yonhap)