South Korea reconfirmed Tuesday that Seoul and Washington are discussing its involvement in U.S. nuclear asset management in the face of intensifying North Korean nuclear threats, after President Joe Biden denied that the allies were discussing joint nuclear exercises.
The purported difference came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un entered the new year with a vow to mass-produce battlefield nuclear weapons targeting South Korea and introduce a more powerful intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the mainland U.S. Some experts say Kim would eventually aim to use his enlarged weapons arsenal to wrest outside concessions like sanctions relief.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said in a newspaper interview published Monday that the two countries were pushing for a joint planning and training involving U.S. nuclear assets and that the United States responded positively about the idea.
Asked by a reporter later at the White House about whether the two countries were discussing joint nuclear exercises, Biden replied, “No.”