Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the United States and South Korea would establish a tailored, bilateral deterrence strategy opposing North Korean nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. The announcement came on Oct. 2 during a joint press conference in Seoul with South Korean defense minister Kim Kwan-jin following the two nations’ 45th Security Consultative meeting. Hagel said the agreement would allow the two countries to “work together more seamlessly to maximize the effects of our deterrence,” according to a Pentagon release. Kim said both sides agreed to a “more future-oriented and comprehensive strategic alliance.” In a joint communiqué, the two sides reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to provide and strengthen deterrence for South Korea using “the full range of military capabilities, including the US nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense capabilities.” The two leaders also urged North Korea to “abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.” (See also Scaparrotti Takes Charge of US Forces Korea.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.