S. Korea, US revise deterrence strategy amid growing NK threats

The defense chiefs of South Korea and the United States on Monday unveiled an updated security strategy, the first in a decade, specifically designed to counter the growing threats emanating from North Korean nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

South Korea's newly appointed Defense Minister Shin Won-sik and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the completion of revisions to the Tailored Deterrence Strategy, a strategic guideline tailored to threats posed by North Korea.

In December 2021, South Korean and US defense leaders first acknowledged the imperative to amend the TDS, initially crafted in 2013. This recognition stemmed from the rapidly evolving nature of North Korea's missile and nuclear capabilities. The outcome of revising the strategic guidelines came two years after the initial agreement.

"(The defense chiefs) recognized that the 2023 TDS revisions render it into a flexible and robust document that serves as a strategic framework to effectively deter and respond to advancing DPRK nuclear and other WMD and non-nuclear capabilities with strategic impacts," read the joint statement of the annual Security Consultative Meeting, a key bilateral defense dialogue, held in Seoul.

"Also, both (defense) leaders noted that the 2023 TDS reflects guidance on ways to leverage the full range of US military capabilities, including US nuclear capabilities and ROK conventional capabilities, in preparation against DPRK nuclear and other WMD attacks across armistice, crisis, and wartime."

The acronyms ROK and DPRK represent the official names of South Korea and North Korea, which are the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, respectively.