No discussion of US-South Korea nuclear exercises, says Biden

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by Soo-hyang Choi and Trevor Hunnicutt

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is not discussing with South Korea the possibility of holding joint nuclear exercises, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday, contradicting comments by his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk -yeol, amid growing tensions with North Korea.

While North Korean leader Kim Jong-un described Seoul as the “indisputable enemy” of Pyongyang, Yoon Suk-yeol mentioned in an interview with the Chosun Ilbo newspaper published on Monday discussions with Washington on the possibility of organizing joint maneuvers including US nuclear assets.

Asked by reporters at the White House about the existence of current discussions between the United States and South Korea on joint nuclear exercises, Joe Biden replied in the negative.

Yoon Suk-yeol said that the joint maneuvers would be aimed at making the implementation of the United States’ “extended deterrence” more effective – a reference to the ability of the American army, via its nuclear power in particular, to deter from any attack on Washington’s allies.

“Nuclear weapons belong to the United States, but preparation, information sharing, exercises and training should be conducted jointly by South Korea and the United States,” Yoon Suk-yeol said, noting that Washington was “pretty positive” about the idea.

The comments come after Pyongyang launched a new ballistic missile launch for the New Year, while official North Korean press reported that Kim Jong-un had ordered the development of new missiles and the mass production of weapons. ‘nuclear weapons.

(Reporting Soo-hyang Choi in Seoul and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; French version Jean Terzian)

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