Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, right, salutes during an honor guard in South Korea before the start of a security meeting in Seoul on Oct. 28. (Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro/ Defense Department)
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii — President Trump last month agreed to send more of the Pentagon’s “strategic assets” to South Korea on a rotational basis to deter North Korean provocations, but what exactly that means remains something of a mystery.
The U.S. assets — typically defined as submarines, aircraft carriers, nuclear weapons, or bombers — have long been involved in the standoff that began with the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement after open warfare subsided between the two Koreas. In a year in which North Korea has shown significant progress toward mounting a nuclear warhead on a intercontinental ballistic missile, Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to bolster the U.S. presence in the region.
The Pentagon describes these forthcoming moves as the “enhanced deployment of U.S. strategic assets in and around South Korea on a rotational basis,” but it has provided few additional details. It appears they are still in the works. Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview Saturday he had just discussed the deployment of strategic assets with South Korean counterparts during two days of meetings in Seoul.