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U.S., South Korea agree to strengthen deterrence on peninsula

The newly created Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group met for the first time, according to Seoul.

By
Elizabeth Shim
The United States deployed the B-1B Lancer twice in September in response to Pyongyang’s fifth nuclear test. North Korea’s threats are prompting closer U.S.-South defense cooperation. Photo by Jonathan Steffen/U.S. Air Force/UPI
The United States deployed the B-1B Lancer twice in September in response to Pyongyang’s fifth nuclear test. North Korea’s threats are prompting closer U.S.-South defense cooperation. Photo by Jonathan Steffen/U.S. Air Force/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The United States and South Korea agreed Tuesday to strengthen the regular deployment of U.S. strategic assets to the peninsula, according to Seoul's defense ministry.

The planned measure is to better prepare both sides for North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, local news service News 1 reported Wednesday, local time.

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The proposal was the outcome of the first session of the high-level Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group that involved defense officials and diplomats from both countries, according to a press release from the defense ministry.

The EDSCG was established in October, when U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo.

U.S. commitment to extended deterrence on the peninsula was reaffirmed, and the United States is to continue to provide the same level of nuclear deterrence on the peninsula as the U.S. mainland.

The United States has already demonstrated its commitment to deterrence after North Korea's fifth nuclear test. B-1B bombers were deployed from the U.S. air base in Guam twice, sending a strong warning to Pyongyang in September.

The announcement comes at a time when South Korea's arms procurement agency is adding more ships to the country's naval fleet.

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The Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Tuesday it has decided to order two 2,800-ton-class escort ships, Yonhap reported.

Seoul is placing the orders to support the country's ailing shipbuilding industry, according to the report.

The $590 million-contract was signed with Hyundai Heavy Industries.

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