A senior US official announced today, Wednesday, that the United States will send a nuclear submarine to stop in South Korea, with the aim of strengthening deterrence capabilities in the face of North Korea.
The official said that the measures to be announced, the likes of which have not been seen since the Cold War era, are aimed at strengthening deterrence capabilities in the face of North Korea's nuclear activities.
The official noted that in addition to submarines, there would be a "usual influx" of other major platforms "including bombers or aircraft carriers," and added, "Certainly these facilities will not be stationed (in the region), and certainly not nuclear weapons."
US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Sok Yul, who is currently visiting the United States, are scheduled to issue a document that will be called the "Washington Declaration", which, in addition to strengthening the US military umbrella, will determine increased information exchange with Seoul.
This measure comes in response to the escalation of tensions with North Korea's increase in missile tests, as Pyongyang this year conducted a record number of tests, including this month a test of its first solid-fuel ballistic missile.
Yoon and his wife will head to the White House on Wednesday for a visit that includes a gala dinner and other official events, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the United States and South Korea.
Biden seeks to strengthen cooperation with Washington's two most prominent regional allies in the face of North Korea, that is, South Korea and Japan.
A senior US official said before the Biden-Yon meeting that "the United States has not actually taken such steps since the height of the Cold War with our closest allies in Europe," pointing out that Washington seeks through these measures to confirm its commitment to "extended deterrence (and that it) is beyond doubt." .
Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that there are no plans to deploy US nuclear weapons in South Korea, unlike in the Cold War when US strategic weapons were deployed in Europe.
"We will announce our intention to take steps to make our deterrent force more visible through the regular deployment of strategic assets, including the visit of a US ballistic nuclear submarine to South Korea, which has not happened since the 1980s," a senior official said.
"We will enhance our training, exercises, and simulation activities to enhance the US-ROK alliance's approach to deter and defend against North Korean threats, including by integrating traditional South Korean assets into our strategic planning," he added.
An official indicated that steps were already being taken to defuse any potential tensions with Beijing over the tougher military stance.
"We keep the Chinese informed in advance and make it very clear why we are taking these steps," he added, noting that the Joe Biden administration "feels let down that China was not willing to use its influence" on Pyongyang.
Officials in Seoul and Washington have been warning since early 2022 that North Korea may conduct its seventh nuclear test imminently.
And last March, leader Kim Jong Un ordered the North Korean army to intensify its training in preparation for "real war" and finally called for the promotion of weapons production, including tactical nuclear weapons.
Washington has repeatedly reiterated its "firm" commitment to the defense of South Korea, including the use of "the full range of its military capabilities," which includes "nuclear capabilities."