Joe Biden contradicts Yoon Suk-yeol, says US not discussing joint nuclear exercises with South Korea
However, echoing the South Korean President's remarks, the nation's presidential office on Tuesday insisted that the countries are in fact discussing the joint implementation of US nuclear operations as a way to counter North Korea
Contradicting remarks made by his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol, US President Joe Biden on Monday said that Washington is not discussing any nuclear exercises with Seoul.
Suk-yeol in an interview published on Monday said that his country and the US are discussing possible joint exercises using Washington's nuclear assets. However, responding to a reporter's question about whether the US is holding the discussions as claimed by South Korea, Biden said "no". He was speaking to the press at the White House.
Watch | US-South Korea Mull Nuke Drills: President Yoon Suk-Yeol says talks ongoing
However echoing the South Korean President's remarks, the nation's presidential office on Tuesday insisted that the countries are in fact discussing the joint implementation of US nuclear operations as a way to counter North Korea.
Kim Eun-hye, press secretary to President Yoon as per Reuters said that the US President "had no choice but to say 'No'" as the question he was asked was are the two countries discussing "war games".
Joint nuclear exercises are held between two nuclear states, and Seoul is not a nuclear power, as pointed out by a senior US administration official, who said that the two nations are looking at "enhanced information sharing, joint contingency planning and an eventual tabletop exercise".
"In order to respond to the North Korean nuclear weapons, the two countries are discussing ways to share information on the operation of U.S.-owned nuclear assets, and joint planning and joint execution of them accordingly," Kim said in a statement.
Yoon during his interview with the Chosun Ilbo newspaper had said that the joint exercises would aim at a more effective implementation of the US' "extended deterrence" which refers to the nation's military's ability to deter attacks on American allies. He also claimed that Washington was also "quite positive" about the idea.
(With inputs from agencies)
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