South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet today in Washington, D.C. to discuss security concerns on the Korean Peninsula.
The meeting is the second between the two officials since the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last month. The joint U.S.-South Korea defense strategy will likely be prioritized at the meeting, as the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) bilateral talks will resume within the coming weeks. The security talks include trilateral cooperation with Japan.
Lee will also attend a ceremony marking the completion of the Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Veterans Memorial and pay his respects to American veterans at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
North Korea has launched 30 ballistic missiles and conducted 18 missile tests this year. In the short-to-medium term, expectations are that the North will conduct its first nuclear missile test since September 2017. Although discussions on the deployment of U.S. strategic military assets on the peninsula are currently ongoing, the U.S. has said it will not rule out nuclear options as part of its deterrence strategy for South Korea. In the short-term, expect increased U.S.-ROK military exercises as part of the allies’ joint deterrence strategy.
Sabrine is an Analyst for Foreign Brief and a graduate student at Yonsei University in South Korea, specializing in foreign policy and security in East Asia. Previously, she contributed as a freelance writer for online publications and worked as a sub-editor for the Daily NK.