The United States and South Korea are preparing to develop “a new, operational battle plan” to better address the growing threat from North Korea’s military.
According to senior US defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the process, the new plan will replace existing strategies for responding to potential North Korean aggressions that were devised nearly a decade ago and are not responsible for Pyongyang’s military progress.
“It’s the right thing to do,” a senior defense official told reporters on his way to Seoul for a meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean officials.
“The DPRK has upgraded its capabilities,” the official said. “The strategic environment has changed over the years.”
The official described the process of updating the existing plans as an “extensive and intensive effort”, with no timeline for completion.
US defense officials are tracking a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang since September, including a cruise missile, a short-range ballistic missile, a submarine-launched ballistic missile and what North Korea claims is a hypersonic glide vehicle. test is included.
But a second senior official cautioned that the changes are not only a result of North Korea’s current provocation but “a natural evolution to changing circumstances”.
“ROK’s [South Korea’s] Also advanced capacity development, and their ability to contribute to the plan is also an important part of the update,” said another official.
An official announcement of work on the new war plan is one of several efforts by Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook following their meeting as part of the 53rd US-Republic of Korea Security Consultative Meeting (SCM).
US officials also said the two countries expected progress on plans to transfer command of US and South Korean forces on the Korean peninsula to South Korea, which they described as an important milestone.
Austin is also hoping that the talks will play a greater role in providing security and stability for Seoul as a whole, despite South Korea’s concerns that doing so could escalate tensions with China.
US defense officials stressed that Seoul is “a particularly good position” to play a positive role.
“we see it” [South Korea] Now as a net provider of security not only on the peninsula but across the region,” the first senior defense official said, connecting the two countries “will look at ways where we can coordinate our defense cooperation in the region”. and especially capacity building across the region.”
In what this means for Taiwan, and what US officials have described as Beijing’s increasingly aggressive behavior, the official said, “Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is in the interest of the entire region.”
The talks between the US and South Korea come just days after the Pentagon ended its 2021 Global Posture Review, which examined how US forces are deployed around the world.
The review is graded, but a Pentagon statement said Monday that the review “directs us to pursue additional cooperation with allies and partners that contribute to regional stability and prevent potential Chinese military aggression and North America.” Stop threats from Korea.”
Initiatives include increasing military infrastructure in Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Officials said the review also informed the US decision earlier this year to permanently deploy an attack helicopter squadron and an artillery division headquarters to South Korea.