Biden’s Nuclear Provocations Raise US, South, North Korean Tensions

January 6th, 2023 - by Dave DeCamp /

White House Says US, South Korea Preparing Response to ‘Nuclear Use’ by North Korea

Dave DeCamp /

(January 3, 2022) — The White House said Tuesday that the US and South Korea are stepping up cooperation and preparing a coordinated response to any potential “nuclear use” by North Korea.

According to AFP, a National Security Council spokesperson said President Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol have “tasked their teams to plan for an effective coordinated response to a range of scenarios, including nuclear use by North Korea.”

The comments came after Yoon said that the US and South Korea were in talks on expanding cooperation to include US nuclear forces in joint military exercises. Yoon said he received positive feedback from the US about the proposal, but President Biden sparked some confusion when he replied “no” after being asked if the US and South Korea were discussing joint nuclear drills.

The NSC spokesperson insisted Biden said “no” because the US and South Korea can’t technically hold “joint nuclear exercises” since Seoul is not a nuclear-armed state. But either way, joint US-South Korean drills that would include US nuclear forces would be highly provocative toward Pyongyang and ratchet up tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Yoon’s office also responded to Biden’s answer and said talks on the issue were underway. “South Korea and the United States are in talks over information-sharing, joint planning and the joint implementation plans that follow, in relation to the operation of US nuclear assets, to respond to North Korea’s nuclear weapons,” a spokeswoman for Yoon said.

A senior Biden administration official confirmed to AFP that the US and South Korea are working on expanding military cooperation. The official said the two countries “are working together to strengthen extended deterrence, including eventually through table-top exercises that will explore our joint response to a range of scenarios, including nuclear use.”

The official added that the increased cooperation is “consistent with President Yoon’s comment that the United States and the ROK (South Korea) will expand planning, information sharing, exercises, and training.”

Yoon’s revelation of the US-South Korean talks came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the “exponential” increase of Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. Throughout 2022, North Korea launched a record number of missile tests as the US and South Korea resumed major war games. The Biden administration has shown no interest in de-escalating tensions and began sending bombers to the Korean Peninsula again for the first time since 2017.

US officials have also made nuclear threats against North Korea, with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warning in October the US would use all its capabilities to defend allies against Pyongyang, including “nuclear, conventional and missile defense.”

About-face: Biden Now Plans for Increased
ear Provocations on Korean Penninsula

Jenny Leonard, Alexis Shanes, and Sangmi Cha / Bloomberg

(January 2, 2023) — The US is in discussions with South Korea on ways to deter Kim Jong Un’s regime from using nuclear weapons, according to a spokesperson for the National Security Council.

Following a meeting in Cambodia last year, US President Joe Biden and South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk Yeol asked their teams to plan for an effective coordinated response to a range of scenarios, including nuclear use by North Korea, the spokesperson said, adding that the two nations aren’t discussing joint nuclear exercises because South Korea is a non-nuclear weapons state.

In response to a question earlier on Monday, Biden said he isn’t currently discussing joint nuclear exercises with South Korea after Yoon said his government wanted a more active role in managing atomic weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

The National Security Council spokesperson said the US is fully committed to the alliance with South Korea and providing extended deterrence through the full range of US defense capabilities.

A senior administration official said discussions are centered on enhanced information sharing, joint planning and table-top exercises on a range of scenarios, including the use of nuclear weapons. There is no timing yet for the table-top exercise but the goal is to have it in the near future, the official said.

Yoon told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper in an interview published Monday that “while the nuclear weapons belong to the US, intel sharing, planning, and training should be done jointly” and the US’s stance on the matter was “quite positive.”

South Korea’s presidential office confirmed the remarks. In a subsequent statement on Tuesday, the South Korean presidential office said the country was in discussions with the US on joint planning and information-sharing regarding US nuclear assets.

“Joint nuclear exercise” is a term that can only be used between nuclear powers, Kim Eun-hye, a spokeswoman for Yoon, said in a text message.

Yoon had said that the strategy of “nuclear umbrella” or “extended deterrence” is no longer reassuring for the public now that North Korea has developed nuclear weapons and a range of missiles to deliver them. Since taking power last May, Yoon has sought to put South Korea on a path of overwhelming military strength against North Korea, which has launched scores of missiles in defiance of United Nations resolutions and is preparing for another nuclear test.

Over the weekend, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to increase his nuclear arsenal in 2023 to stifle US and South Korean hostile acts following a nearly weeklong party meeting. He left almost no opening for a return to long-stalled disarmament talks, calling instead for an “exponential increase” of Pyongyang’s weaponry.

North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles on the last day of the year and then launched one more a few hours after the New Year began, in a defiant show of force that could set the tone for a further ratcheting up of tensions. Last week, Kim’s regime sent five drones across the border into South Korea, temporarily disrupting flights at major airports.

Biden Has Reignited Military
Tensions with North Korea in 2022

Kyle Anzalone / Conflicts of Interest


Read More:
•  South Korea Asks US for Greater Role in Managing Nuclear Weapons

•  US Says Not Considering Joint Nuclear Exercises with South Korea

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.