The defense chiefs of South Korea and the U.S. have reaffirmed Washington's extended deterrence measures for Seoul, and agreed to expand joint military training and exercises this year.
Defense minister Lee Jong-sup and U.S. defense secretary Lloyd Austin held talks in Seoul on Tuesday and strongly condemned North Korea's continued provocations, including missile launches and drone intrusions, as well as for violating UN Security Council resolutions.
The two sides agreed to sternly respond to such acts with the international community.
Lee and Austin also agreed to continue and step up alliance capabilities, information sharing, joint planning, execution and consultations to deter North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.
To this aim, the allies will hold a table-top exercise next month led by the Deterrence Strategy Committee and discuss a timely and coordinated deployment of strategic assets.
The two sides also agreed to expand the scale and scope of joint field maneuvers this year, including a major live fire drill.
Seoul and Washington will also seek to hold trilateral security talks with Japan at the earliest possible date.