After talks in the South Korean capital, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup agreed to review the deterrence strategy regarding North Korea's threats.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance will continue to strengthen its partnership with Japan in light of Russia's war on Ukraine.
Austin arrived in Seoul on Monday for talks with his South Korean counterpart, at a time when Washington seeks to reassure the Asian ally of its nuclear commitment in light of the growing threats from North Korea.
In a joint press conference today, after talks that brought together the two ministers in Seoul, Austin condemned what he described as North Korea's provocations and undermining stability in the region, stressing his country's commitment to taking conventional and nuclear deterrence measures to protect South Korea.
A joint statement stated that Austin and Jung Sop pledged to expand the level and scope of joint military exercises, and the US Secretary said that his country and South Korea will conduct theoretical exercises with complex scenarios that focus on deterrence against nuclear threats.
Austin's visit aims to deepen US-Korea cooperation and discuss security challenges, as well as reassuring adversaries that "if they challenge one of us, they are therefore challenging the US-ROK alliance as a whole."
Military tensions on the Korean peninsula rose sharply last year after Pyongyang conducted a series of missile tests in breach of sanctions, including the launch of an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also recently called for a "massive" increase in Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal, declaring last year that "there is no going back" for his country being a nuclear power.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his visit to the "Iruma" base of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, north of Tokyo (Reuters)
NATO and Japan
On a similar note, the Secretary General of NATO called for strengthening relations with Japan to face the global challenges posed by the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Stoltenberg said - in a press statement on Tuesday, during his visit to the "Iruma" base of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, north of the capital, Tokyo - that if Russia was victorious in Ukraine, it would be a "disaster" for the Ukrainians, and a very dangerous message to the "tyrannical" leaders around the world. the scientist.
"The message will be that the goal can be achieved when using military force," he added.
He stated that "the global risks resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian war show that our security is closely interdependent," calling for stronger relations between NATO and Tokyo.