The United States has denied being in discussions with South Korea to carry out joint nuclear exercises, according to President Joe Biden who contradicted remarks by the South Korean President, Yoon Suk-yeol, that Washington and Seoul were in talks on exercises involving US nuclear assets.
Suk-yeol had, in a newspaper interview on Monday, said Seoul and Washington were in “talks on joint planning and exercises involving US nuclear assets to counter North Korea’s nuclear threats”.
President Yoon’s comments, in an interview published in the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, which came at a time of growing tension with North Korea launching an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles in 2022, with a promise to robustly counter what it views as military planning by the US and South Korea for a possible invasion.
“The nuclear weapons belong to the United States, but planning, information sharing, exercises and training should be jointly conducted by South Korea and the United States,” Suk-yeol said, adding that Washington is also “quite positive” about the idea.
The newspaper quoted Suk-yeol as saying the joint planning and exercises would be aimed at more effective implementation of the US “extended deterrence”, which refers to the ability of the US military — particularly its nuclear forces — to deter attacks on US allies.
But in an intreview with White House reporters on Monday as well, Biden denied the US was currently discussing joint nuclear exercises with South Korea, with an emphatic “No”.
A senior Biden administration official who also spoke to the reporters, said categorically that joint nuclear exercises were not being planned with South Korea because Seoul was not a nuclear power