According to officials from both countries, a United States aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan, will visit South Korea this week for joint drills for the first time in more than four years. The allies hope to deter North Korea by deploying nuclear-capable “strategic assets” from the United States. In a statement, the South Korean Navy said that the aircraft carrier would land at a naval base in the southern port city of Busan on Friday.
US aircraft carrier will visit South Korea for the first time since 2018 to conduct joint military exercises amid rising concerns regarding North Korea’s nuclear program. On Monday, the South Korean navy announced that the USS Ronald Reagan would arrive on Friday in Busan. pic.twitter.com/XfRx0yd0mF
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) September 20, 2022
Its arrival follows North Korea’s recent passage of a law allowing the use of nuclear weapons as a preemptive measure in certain instances, demonstrating its increasingly aggressive nuclear strategy. In addition, early this year, the North tested several nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that could reach South Korea and the United States mainland.
Some experts believe North Korea’s moves indicate that it is not interested in resuming denuclearization negotiations until the United States and others acknowledge the country as a nuclear power. According to them, the North Korean government needs such recognition to engage in arms control negotiations with its adversaries and acquire sanctions relief and concessions without giving up its nuclear weapons.
An Overwhelming Response Would Follow any Nuclear Attack from North Korea
Following a meeting last week in Washington, senior U.S. and South Korean officials issued a statement saying, “Any nuclear attack by North Korea will be met with overwhelming and decisive retaliation.” U.S. military officials reiterated ‘their commitment to providing extended deterrence against South Korea’ through the full range of their capabilities, including nuclear weapons.
North Korean nuclear threats have prompted South Korea to build and acquire a variety of high-tech missiles, stealth jets, and other conventional weapons. Even though it possesses no nuclear weapons, it is under the protection of a “nuclear umbrella” of the United States, which will ensure that in case of an attack on its ally, the United States will respond devastatingly. The U.S. deployed around 28500 troops in South Korea to provide its support in case of any attack.
Earlier this month, the North Korean government approved a law allowing the country to carry out a nuclear strike as a preventive measure and declaring its nuclear status irreversible. This year, an unprecedented number of weapons tests have been conducted by the country, including the launch of the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile in five years.
In addition to the strong and unwavering commitment of the United States to extend deterrence for the Republic of Korea/South Korea (ROK), the United States reiterated its commitment to utilizing its full range of military capabilities, including nuclear, missile defense, conventional, and other advanced non-nuclear capabilities.
North Korea Previously Committed to Denuclearize Completely
During his tenure as president of the United States, Donald Trump held direct discussions with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but diplomacy between the two nations has been stalled. The nations issued a joint statement following their first meeting in 2018 in which North Korea expressed its commitment to “work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Even after the pledge was made, no other steps were taken to end the country’s nuclear weapons program. An international ban on nuclear testing was violated by North Korea in 2006 when it carried out its first nuclear weapons test. Several resolutions have since been adopted by the UN Security Council, imposing sanctions on the country due to its nuclear program. Additionally, Pyongyang has viewed previous U.S. military deployments and joint drills as rehearsals for war and evidence that Washington and Seoul are following hostile policies.