At the 45th Security Consultative Meeting this past week, US Defense Secretary Hagel and South Korean Minister of Defense Kim Kwan Jin announced a bilateral “tailored deterrence” strategy regarding the North. The Joint Communiqué released after the meeting states that the two nations “reaffirmed” their alliance and “mutual commitment” to protecting the ROK from Northern threats. Unsurprisingly, it also condemned the North’s 2012-12 missile launch and 2013-02 nuclear test, and urged the DPRK to irreversibly abandon its nuclear program. The new deterrence strategy is vague:
This strategy establishes a strategic Alliance framework for tailoring deterrence against key North Korean nuclear threat scenarios across armistice and wartime, and strengthens the integration of Alliance capabilities to maximize their deterrent effects. The ROK and the United States are committed to maintaining close consultation on deterrence matters to ensure that extended deterrence for the ROK remains credible, capable, and enduring. (Joint Communiqué, point 6)
The KCNA responded yesterday (Sunday) by calling the strategy a dangerous move preluding a preemptive strike against the North, and claiming that any signs of the North using nuclear weapons are “cooked up”. Today, Yonhap reported that the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) released a statement threatening to preemptive strikes to counter the “military plot” hidden in the tailored deterrence.