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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosts South Korean Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup for talks at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., July 29, 2022. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

The United States and South Korea will hold discussion-based exercises to address nuclear threats, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin said at Tuesday.

According to AFP, Austin said Washington and Seoul will hold “increasingly complex scenario-based desk exercises focusing on nuclear threats in the peninsula.” Austin, who will be visiting Seoul for the third time as Minister of Defence, will meet with his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup and President Yoon Suk-yeol during this visit.

The purpose of his visit was to deepen cooperation and discuss security issues, as well as to reaffirm that “the United States’ expanded deterrence commitment to the Republic of Korea is sound”. Military tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen sharply over the past year as North Korea conducts weapons tests almost monthly, including firing its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has also recently called for an “exponential” increase in Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal, declaring the North an “irreversible” nuclear state last year.

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