WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) — The United States and South Korea may have agreed to build a mutual assistance system to deter North Korea submarine-launched ballistic missiles from reaching their targets.
During a meeting between U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and his South Korean counterpart Gen. Lee Sun-jin at the Pentagon on Thursday, the two sides condemned North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations and agreed to continue to find effective countermeasures, South Korean newspaper Segye Ilbo reported.
The meeting was part of the 41st Military Committee Meeting between the two countries, which have been held since 1978.
The mutual assistance system would entail exchanging intelligence on North Korea submarines, according to South Korean press reports.
“We will build a practical U.S.-South Korea cooperation system to respond effectively to North Korea’s provocations, and continue to work together on the deployment of THAAD,” Lee said.
Dunford reaffirmed unwavering U.S. commitment to the bilateral alliance and extended deterrence.
The two sides may have also discussed equipping U.S. Aegis destroyers with SM-3 missiles, and then deploying the missile destroyers to the Korean peninsula, South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported.
A South Korean military source who spoke to the Munhwa on the condition of anonymity said bilateral mutual assistance would entail the sharing of information collected through U.S. reconnaissance satellites and nuclear-powered submarines.
The goal of intelligence sharing is to push for containment of North Korea submarines that can launch SLBMs, according to the report.
U.S. officials estimate the North Korean army has about 1 million soldiers, the navy has about 60,000 sailors and the air force has about 110,000 active duty personnel.