U.S. Strategic Commander reaffirms extended deterrence for S. Korea: defense ministry

July 14, 2021

 The U.S. Strategic Command is fully mission capable of providing extended deterrence to South Korea using its full range of capabilities, its commander Adm. Charles Richard was quoted as saying Wednesday.

Richard made the remark when he paid a courtesy call on Defense Minister Suh Wook and discussed the regional security situation and their combined deterrence, the defense ministry said.

During the meeting, Suh stressed the importance of close coordination between the two countries to deter nuclear and missile threats by North Korea and asked the Strategic Command to play an active role, the ministry said.

Richard was in Seoul as part of his first overseas trip since taking office in November 2019. He visited Japan before flying to South Korea.

It is the first visit by a head of the U.S. Strategic Command to South Korea since August 2017, when then commander Gen. John Hyten came here to observe a Korea-U.S. combined exercise to demonstrate a strong bilateral alliance against North Korea.

Ahead of the meeting with Suh, the commander held talks with South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Won In-choul on a combined defense posture and other pending military issues, according to officials.

“The commander also plans to meet South Korea’s Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force to discuss how to further develop their deterrence posture and ways to boost cooperation between their organizations,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Strategic Command is in charge of the U.S.’ “nuclear triad,” which refers to intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and strategic bombers, as a key deterrence against any nuclear attacks by adversaries.