MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 31st January, 2023) South Korea and the United States have agreed to further expand and bolster the level and scale of their joint exercises this year, according to a joint statement by the countries' defense chiefs released on Tuesday.
South Korean Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held their first meeting of the year in Seoul on Tuesday. In 2023, the countries celebrated the 70th anniversary of their alliance.
"The two leaders also pledged to further expand and bolster the level and scale of this year's combined exercises and training," the joint statement released by the Pentagon read.
The defense chiefs also agreed on the need to take into account changes in the security environment, including Pyongyang's recent steps with respect to its nuclear and missile programs.
In addition, Lee and Austin expressed a commitment to close cooperation on the deployment of US strategic weapons on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea conducted dozens of missile test launches in 2022, firing several missiles at once on some occasions. On November 2, it launched more than 20 short-range missiles. Pyongyang has said that North Korea's military-related activities are in response to provocations by the US, South Korea and Japan.