A bilateral consultative body created to bolster nuclear deterrence against threats from North Korea will hold its inaugural meeting in Seoul on July 18.
The meeting of the South Korea-U.S. Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) will discuss information sharing, consultation mechanisms, joint planning and execution plans to strengthen “extended deterrence” against North Korea, the presidential office said in a press statement.
It will be co-chaired by Kim Tae-hyo, Korea’s principal deputy national security adviser, and U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell.
Cara Abercrombie, deputy assistant to the president and coordinator for defense policy and arms control at the White House NSC, and other defense and foreign affairs officials from the two countries will also participate.
The meeting comes as a follow-up to the Washington Declaration signed by President Yoon Suk Yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden at their bilateral summit at the White House on April 26, during the Korean leader’s state visit to the United States.
The declaration agreed to establish a new bilateral NCG, a planned consultative body of officials from both countries designed to strengthen extended deterrence against threats from North Korea through enhanced dialogue and information sharing on nuclear strategy.
Extended deterrence refers to the United States’ commitment to mobilizing the full range of its military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, to defend its ally under a possible attack.
“Through regular NCGs in the future, we expect that U.S. capabilities, including its nuclear power, will be fully mobilized, and combined with South Korea’s military power to build a strong execution power for South Korea-U.S. extended deterrence,” the presidential office said in a statement.
Initially, the talks were meant to be led by deputy minister-level officials, but the two sides agreed to elevate the rank of the chief delegates to vice minister-level for the inaugural session, according to Seoul officials.
“There will be high-level participation by the United States because this is an important issue on which we place priority,” U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a press briefing at the White House in Washington Friday, noting he spoke with his South Korean counterpart Thursday evening to discuss preparations.
“Launching the Nuclear Consultative Group is a specific outcome of the Washington Summit between President Yoon and President Biden, an outcome of the historic Washington Declaration,” he added. “And you will see in this meeting that we are quite serious about taking this effort forward.”
In turn, China has been expressing concerns over Seoul and Washington’s NCG plans.
“China is concerned over ROK-US Nuclear Consultative Group’s meeting to reinforce the enforcement of US’s extended deterrence,” Liu Xiaoming, special representative of the Chinese government on Korean Peninsula affairs, wrote in an English-language tweet Saturday. “The issues on the Korean Peninsula are essentially political and security issues.”
ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, the South’s official name.
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