A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter lands onto the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered super carrier, during a joint naval drill between South Korea and the U.S. (File)InternationalIndiaAfricaWASHINGTON (Sputnik) – China is being briefed about plans between the United States and South Korea to enhance military activity near the Korean Peninsula in light of Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear missile capability, a senior US administration official told reporters. “We are briefing the Chinese in advance and laying out very clearly our rationale for why we are taking these steps,” the official said. “We believe that non-proliferation efforts in the Indo-Pacific are in the best interest of not just the United States and other leading states, but China as well.” The United States and South Korea will announce plans to enhance joint military drills and to deploy a US nuclear ballistic submarine in the Korean Peninsula region in response to North Korea’s advancing nuclear missile capabilities, the official said.”We’ll announce that we intend to take steps to make our deterrence more visible through the regular deployment of strategic assets, including a US nuclear ballistic submarine visit to South Korea, which has not happened since the early 1980s,” the US official said ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with his South Korean counterpart. “We’ll strengthen our training, our exercises, and simulation activities to improve the US-ROK [South Korea] alliance’s approach to deterring and defending against DPRK [North Korean] threats, including by better integrating ROK conventional assets into our strategic planning.”The US and South Korea during President Yoon Suk-yeol’s visit to the United States will announce a new Washington Declaration designed to enhance American-funded deterrence commitments amid North Korea’s growing nuclear capabilities, according to an official.”To build peace and stability on the Peninsula, during the visit, the alliance will be announcing a Washington Declaration which includes a series of steps that are designed to strengthen US-funded deterrence commitments and strengthen the clarity by which they are seen by the Korean public as well as by neighbors in the face of advancing DPRK [North Korean] nuclear missile capabilities,” the official said ahead of Wednesday’s talks between President Joe Biden and Yoon at the White House.MilitarySouth Korea, US, Japan Launch Joint Naval Drills Involving USS Carrier: Defense Ministry3 April, 08:19 GMTAccording to the US official, the Washington Declaration has been in discussion with the South Korean government for months, and it will also include the establishment of a new mechanism called the US-South Korean Nuclear Consultative Group, a regular bilateral consultation mechanism that will focus on nuclear and strategic planning issues to give South Korea additional insight on planning for major contingencies.Joe Biden during his meeting with South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol will want to know what the future of Seoul’s support for Ukraine might look like, he added.”I know that President Biden will have to have a conversation with President Yoon about what it means for all like-minded allies to continue to support Ukraine through a difficult few months and will want to know what Seoul is thinking about what the future of their support might look like,” one US official said.The meeting between the two leaders comes in the wake of Pentagon leaks revealing US frustration with South Korea’s failure to provide arms to Ukraine. As Yoon arrived in Washington ahead of Wednesday’s talks with Biden at the White House, a South Korean presidential official told reporters that Ukraine may be discussed during the meeting but only as a “global issue.”Despite pressure from the US and its allies, a South Korean presidential official last week said Seoul is not supplying Ukraine with weapons for the sake of stability in relations with Russia, according to media reports. Moscow has warned Seoul, a major ammunition-producing state, that sending military assistance to Ukraine will negatively impact Russian-South Korean relations.
Later on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will announce the so-called Washington Declaration, which includes a series of steps that are designed to strengthen US-funded deterrence commitments and make it more visible to the Korean public as well as by neighbors, according to the US official.