U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) gestures with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin during a welcoming ceremony at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 2, 2013. (Xinhua/Park Jin hee)
SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the United States agreed on Wednesday to take preemptive measures with all military capabilities available if signs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear strikes are detected.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and his U.S. counterpart Chuck Hagel signed the so-called "Tailored Deterrence Strategy" against possible threats of the DPRK's nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) during their annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM).
The strategy outlined tailored deterrence against three possible scenarios of the DPRK's nuclear threats, including threatening, impending usage and usage of nuclear weapons, by mobilizing both diplomatic and military tools.
At the second stage of impending usage, Seoul and Washington may preemptively take military actions such as the American nuclear umbrella, conventional strikes and missile defense capabilities.
Hagel reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to offer extended deterrence to South Korea by mobilizing a full-range of military capabilities, including the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional strikes and missile defense, according to the joint communique of the 45th SCM meeting.
Among the U.S. nuclear umbrella were B-2 stealth bombers and B- 52 strategic heavy bombers with nuclear strike capabilities, which were sent to South Korea in March to participate in war games and led to the DPRK' threats of a "state of war" with Seoul, along with nuclear-powered submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles, on the top of which nuclear warhead can be loaded.
Conventional strikes included South Korea's homemade missiles and Aegis destroyers as well as the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington was conducting joint military drills with South Korea and Japan on the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula, before carrying out separate joint exercises with South Korean warships next week, said a military official cited by the Yonhap News Agency.
South Korea first made public its homemade missiles targeting the DPRK the previous day. The 300 kilometer-range Hyunmoo2 and the long-range cruise missile Hyunmoo3 with a range of as many as 1,500 kilometers were designed to help South Korea secure anti- weapons capabilities such as the kill chain system, which preemptively detects and intercepts missile and nuclear threats from the DPRK.
Seoul planned to spend almost 1 trillion won (930 million U.S. dollars) next year on the kill chain system, and some 120 billion won of the budget was assigned to the anti-missile defense program, including the purchase of PAC-2 missiles and an upgrade to the PAC- 3 system.
Amid mounting fears over the DPRK's nuclear threats, defense chiefs of Seoul and Washington shared views over the delaying of transition of South Korea's wartime operational control slated for Dec. 1, 2015, agreeing to make a final conclusion on the transfer timing within the first half of 2014.
South Korea handed over its wartime command of troops to Washington during the 1950-53 Korean War. Seoul regained its peacetime operational control in 1994.
Seoul initially agreed to retrieve its operational control in time of war in April 2012, but it called for a delay after the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship in 2010.
South Korea offered again in May to postpone the wartime command transfer amid escalating tensions on the Koran Peninsula following the DPRK's third nuclear test in February and its long- range rocket launch in December 2012.
Hagel told reporters at a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin that the DPRK's provocations posed threats on global security as well as the Korean peninsula, noting that Pyongyang's use of WMD and chemical weapons cannot be acceptable.
The Pentagon chief said that he seriously saw Seoul's request to delay the transition of the country's wartime operational control, adding that discussions on the issue were anticipated to last down the road.
Seoul's Defense Minister said that the DPRK's third nuclear test clearly changed the current security circumstances on the Korean Peninsula from those in 2007 when South Korea agreed to take back the wartime control from the U.S.
Meanwhile, if the wartime operational control goes back to the hands of South Korea, a new command would be established to control both South Korean armed forces and U.S. Forces Korea. Around 28,500 U.S. servicemen are stationed here in the country.
The new command will be led by a four-star South Korean general, changing from the current Combined Forces Command that has been controlled by the commander of the U.S. Forces Korea.
SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK)'s use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and chemical weapons is unacceptable.
His comments were made during the joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin after holding their annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM). Full story
SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Tuesday showed off its latest military hardware, including a mid-range missile targeting the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), in a parade of the largest scale in 10 years to celebrate the establishment of the country's armed forces.
The parade to observe the 65th Armed Forces Day featured homemade missiles capable of striking the DPRK. The Hyunmoo2 and Hyunmoo3, developed with an indigenous technology, were first unveiled to the public in the parade. Full story
SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. special representative for policy on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Glyn Davies said Tuesday that the right time has not come for heads of six-party talks to gather due to Pyongyang's persistent claims as a nuclear power, Yonhap News Agency reported.
"I don't think it's yet time really for the heads of the delegation of the six-party process to get together because I do not believe that we yet have the conditions," Davies told reporters in Seoul after meeting Cho Tae-yong, who represents South Korea at six-party talks. Full story