A North Korean military parade in October 2020 (Picture: KNCA),
North Korea

US and South Korea consider expanding military drills amid North Korea concerns

President Biden and South Korea's Yoon Suk Yeol said they want complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

A North Korean military parade in October 2020 (Picture: KNCA),

The US and South Korea are considering expanding their military exercises due to concerns over North Korea's growing missile and nuclear programme.

During US President Joe Biden's first visit to Asia since taking office, he said co-operation between the two countries shows "our readiness to take on all threats together".

In a news conference President Biden and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk Yeol said their shared goal is the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

But North Korea has defended its nuclear weapons and missile development as a necessary deterrence against what it describes as US threats.

There are concerns about how North Korea – which sees joint military exercises as rehearsals for an invasion – will react to the news. 

The US and South Korea said in a joint statement that they were committed to a "rules-based international order" following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The move is a signal that President Biden is looking to break away from former President Donald Trump's position. Trump had stopped large-scale military exercises in an effort to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

South Korea's new President – who took office just over a week ago – has also signalled a tougher stance on Pyongyang than his predecessor. During his election campaign, Yoon vowed to bolster South Korea's defences against their Northern neighbour.

North Korea has test-launched multiple missiles in recent months, including nuclear-capable missiles potentially able to reach South Korea, Japan or the US.