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Nuclear deterrence pact signed by US and South Korea against North

The Sydney News.Net Wednesday 2nd October, 2013

SEOUL, South Korea - The United States and South Korea Wednesday agreed on a new military strategy to respond better to any possible nuclear, chemical or any strike from North Korea.


US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin signed a new defense pact amid growing nuclear threats from Pyongyang.

At the close of the 45th annual security meeting between the two nations, they also agreed on setting up a panel to review the possibility of delaying the transfer of wartime control of South Korean troops from Washington to Seoul. The transfer of troops is currently slated for 2015.

The defense secretary confirmed that the current force level in South Korea will remain at about 28,500.

He noted that a squadron of 30 armed reconnaissance helicopters arrived at Camp Humphreys in South Korea this week

Hagel at the meeting with Kim said the new agreement was needed, "not only because of our mutual defense treaty, but also because of our firm view that North Korea's policies and provocations pose a serious threat to regional stability and global security."

The agreement however does not outline any specific new weapons programmes but rather a new method for coordinating those efforts.

"The Republic of Korea military has grown stronger, more professional and more capable especially over the past decade," Hagel said. "This is a trend we want to see continue."

Hagel reiterated his country's commitment "to using all our military capabilities" -- including nuclear capabilities, as well as missile defense and conventional strikes -- to deter North Korea from taking any aggressive action against the South.

"Of particular concern are North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, its proliferation activities and its chemical weapons," Hagel said.

"There should be no doubt that any North Korean use of chemical weapons would be completely unacceptable."

The two strategic and security allies urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible manner", including all activities at the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Earlier this month a US research institute said recent satellite images appeared to show that North Korea was restarting its plutonium reactor there.

North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

Hagel was in South Korea for four days during which he attended meetings with top leaders and ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the mutual defense treaty between the two countries.

He also traveled up to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.

He wrapped up the visit by presiding over the transfer of command of US forces in South Korea from Gen. James Thurman to Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti.

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