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US, SKorea Agree on Expanded Nuclear Deterrence

The United States and South Korea have signed an agreement meant to provide greater deterrence against North Korea's nuclear weapons.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin signed the deal Wednesday in Seoul during annual security talks.

Hagel said the plan underscores the countries' concern over the North's "nuclear and ballistic missile programs, its proliferation activities, and its chemical weapons."



"Given these concerns, as Minister Kim noted, today we signed a bilateral strategy for tailored deterrence against the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. This will create a strategic policy level framework within the alliances for deterring these specific threats and help us work together more seamlessly to maximize the effects of our deterrence.''



Few details were given on the expanded deterrence strategy, which comes after months of heightened tensions prompted by Pyongyang's third nuclear test in February.

North Korea's advancing nuclear weapons program has led to calls among some in South Korea for an extension of America's wartime control and command of South Korean forces. Seoul is scheduled to take over full command in 2015.

The two leaders did not make a decision on the matter Wednesday, but agreed to review the timetable of the transfer while keeping an eye on the fluid security situation on the Korean peninsula.



On Tuesday, Hagel attended Seoul's largest military parade in a decade. The Armed Forces Day parade featured over 11,000 troops, 120 aircraft, and showed off the South's new domestically built missiles it has said are capable of hitting North Korean leaders.

North Korea, which regularly holds such military displays, on Wednesday condemned the South's parade. The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the parade was an "unprecedented display of lunatic hostility" and will damage inter-Korean dialogue efforts.

North-South relations have only recently improved, with the two Koreas making limited progress on a series of cross-border business and humanitarian projects.

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