The annual planning of the South Korean Ministry of National Defense containing data on a theoretical simulation exercise contemplating a nuclear attack by North Korea was forwarded this Wednesday (01.11.2023) to President Yoon Suk-yeol.
The tabletop excercise (TTX) will be held in the US in the second half of February, as agreed by both sides at the annual bilateral meeting of defense ministers held last November. .
A TTX is a discussion and debate session between one or several teams to clarify the roles and the response expected from a specific branch or individual in one or several scenarios in which an emergency occurs.
Seoul and Washington have been carrying out TTX for more than a decade but it is the first time that the discussion will contemplate a scenario in which North Korea uses a nuclear weapon, an anonymous military source explained to the Yonhap news agency.
This hypothetical scenario has dominated the South Korean media in recent days after Yoon Suk-yeol himself stated in a recent interview that the allies were talking about a joint exercise involving US nuclear assets with an element to deter or respond to an atomic attack. from Pyongyang.
Protests against the “Freedom Shield” maneuvers between the US and South Korea. (2022).
The 2023 plan also contemplates carrying out a spring exercise, “Freedom shield”, which will last 11 days in a row (until now, weekend rest was allowed).
In addition to this exercise, Seoul and Washington have planned about 20 field exercises in the first half of the year, including the famous “Ssangyong” (“double dragon”) amphibious landing exercise to be held this year at division level (each division includes several brigades or regiments) rather than brigade level.
In turn, the South Korean military hopes to launch its first satellite entirely dedicated to surveillance and reconnaissance in the first half of the year, and before the end of 2023 a third and final test of a solid-fuel space rocket with which Seoul wants to be able to independently send satellites into space (it wants to launch another four reconnaissance ones before 2025).
This planning reflects the historical level of tension that exists on the peninsula, after 2022 in which Pyongyang carried out a record number of weapons tests and the allies once again carried out great maneuvers and momentarily deployed US strategic assets.
CP (efe, afp)