UPDATE 1-South Korean Foreign Minister Park touts US ‘extended deterrence’ after Blinken talks

(Adds quotes, details)

WASHINGTON, Feb 3 (Reuters) – South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said after meeting US top diplomat Antony Blinken on Friday that Seoul and Washington were committed to strengthening “extended deterrence” in relation to North Korea.

South Korea has sought assurances over extended deterrence, referring to the ability of the US military to deter attacks on US allies, amid concerns over Pyongyang’s increasing missile and nuclear capabilities.

“The ROK (Republic of Korea) and the US will continue our tight coordination to achieve genuine peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Park said during a joint news conference following the meeting at the State Department in Washington.

“We are committed to strengthening extended deterrence while maintaining a robust combined defense posture. Any provocations by North Korea will be met with a firm and united response.”

Park and Blinken’s meeting followed a visit to Seoul this week by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who vowed to expand military drills and boost nuclear deterrence planning to counter North Korea’s weapons development and prevent a war.

Major car producer South Korea has sought talks with the United States over the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which excludes electric vehicles assembled outside of North America from tax credits in the United States.

“We will also work together to ensure that the Inflation Reduction Act is implemented in ways that address Korean companies’ concerns and benefit both our businesses and industries,” Park said.

Park said Seoul would also explore the potential for cooperation with Washington under the CHIPS and Science Act, a law designed to boost US semiconductor production and research with a view to competing with China. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Eric Beech and Simon Lewis; Editing by Chris Reese and Sandra Maler)

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