South Korea and the US have mapped out a joint operational plan which outlines concrete measures to deter and respond to North Korea’s nuclear threats, a report said yesterday.
The plan encompasses political, diplomatic and military measures to specify how Washington will provide a nuclear umbrella for South Korea in the case of North Korean nuclear provocations, Yonhap news agency said.
The customized plan will be signed at a security meeting between US and South Korean defense chiefs next month, it said.
“The deterrence plan can be considered equivalent to an operational plan,” a South Korean government source said.
“Making an official document detailing the US nuclear umbrella reflects its firm commitment against North Korea’s atomic weapons threat,” the source added.
No details were given of the tactical measures in the plan.
Washington, which has nearly 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea, has pledged such protection for its ally, but the new plan will contain more details for Seoul and provide a written commitment.
US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs Daniel Russel, said on Friday in Seoul that the North’s nuclear program was a “driver of instability” in the region.
In a separate interview published yesterday, Russel said Washington would not agree to reopen six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program unless Pyongyang shows a clear willingness to abandon atomic weapons.
Russel said he was looking for “convincing indications” from North Korea that the six-party forum, if reconvened, could lead to the North’s denuclearization.
“Those are the signs that North Korea needs to send,” he said. “It’s understandable after so many cycles of broken promises by North Korea that the international community would have high standards of evidence with a call on North Korea to make convincing indications of its seriousness and purpose.”