WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The United States and South Korea agreed to strengthen the U.S. policy of "extended deterrence" to counter North Korea threats, but the decision to deploy U.S. strategic military assets on a rotational basis is drawing South Korean criticism.
During the annual U.S.-South Korea Security Consultative Meeting on Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned North Korea against further provocations.
"Make no mistake, any attack on America or our allies will not only be defeated, but any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an overwhelming and effective response," Carter said.
To that end, the two sides agreed to deploy strategic assets to South Korea permanently on a rotational basis, Yonhap reported.
The deployment would include B-2 stealth bombers and other options, according to South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo.
"We will conduct a review [of options] going forward," Han told reporters in Washington, D.C.
While the need for deterrence is not in dispute, some in South Korea have said rotational deployment and temporary missions are not sufficient to defend against Pyongyang's nuclear provocations.
Carter and Han said they are establishing a new "Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group," a higher channel of communication that could work in coordination on military deployment.
But the absence of a reference to a more permanent presence of U.S. strategic assets on the peninsula in the joint statement may be a disappointment for some in South Korea, South Korean news service News 1 reported.
A South Korean official, however, defended the decision, saying the agreement does not diminish security on the peninsula because the rotations would achieve the effect of a permanent presence at a military base.
North Korea's missile threats have grown this week. Two launches of a midrange Musudan missile each ended in failure, and the country is expected to make at least five more launch attempts, according to Markus Schiller, a scientist at ST Analytics in Munich, Germany.
"North Korea will likely face many failed launches [but may] make at least 5 to 10 additional attempts to test-fire ballistic missiles," Schiller said, according to Radio Free Asia.