Seoul and Washington have plans to expand military presence and cooperation

The more the merrier

Seoul and Washington have plans to expand the U.S. military presence in the region. South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol, who took office in May, has promised more joint military exercises with the United States, after years of failed diplomacy with North Korea under his predecessor.

The visit of the Americans is intended to “dissuade the nuclear threats of North Korea,” a South Korean Defense Ministry official told.

Nuclear threat is real

Pyongyang conducted a record number of weapons tests this year. It also revised its nuclear weapons law earlier this month, making it now possible for North Korea to be the first to launch a nuclear attack. The country has said it will never give up its nuclear weapons.

The joint exercises will take place off the east coast of South Korea next week. South Korea and the US have been warning for some time that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is preparing for a new nuclear test. The isolated regime has tested nuclear weapons six times since 2006, the last time in 2017.

Washington has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea to help protect against a possible attack from the North.

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