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U.S., ROK defense chiefs focus on joint nuclear deterrence

(Xinhua)

08:40, October 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday met with his Republic of Korean (ROK) counterpart Kim Kwan-jin at the Pentagon, and agreed to focus on a joint deterrence policy against nuclear threats on the Korean Peninsula.

The two reached the agreement at the annual Security Consultative Meeting. According to a joint communique, the two agreed the nuclear and ballistic missile programs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) "pose a serious threat to regional stability and global security," and they are " committed to maintaining close consultation to develop comprehensive alliance capabilities to counter" DPRK's "weapons of mass destruction threats."

The two reaffirmed that any DPRK "aggression or military provocation is not to be tolerated and that the U.S. and the Republic of Korea would work shoulder-to-shoulder to demonstrate our combined resolve," said the communique.

Panetta reaffirmed to his South Korean counterpart the " continued U.S. commitment to provide and strengthen extended deterrence for the ROK," including using the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional strike and missile defense capabilities. The two decided to develop a "tailored bilateral deterrence strategy through the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee." They also approved "joint concepts and principles of tailored deterrence."

During a press briefing after the talks, Panetta said Washington is also in consultations with ROK over its future role in a regional missile defense system. Washington has recently expanded its missile defense system in Japan, adding a new radar.

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