North Korean threats. There is a harsh response from the US and South Korea

  • The US and South Korea have said they have committed to using “all available levers”, including diplomatic, military and economic tools, to counter the threats from North Korea
  • “The United States and South Korea express their grave concern at the DPRK’s escalating and destabilizing communications related to the use of nuclear weapons,” the statement said
  • Both countries also stressed the importance of the combined F-35 fighter training and the deployment of the US carrier Ronald Reagan in the Indo-Pacific region
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Friday’s meeting of the Group for the Extended Deterrence and Consultation Strategy in Washington was attended by, inter alia, South Korea’s first deputy foreign minister, Cho Hyun Dong, and the US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Bonnie Jenkins.

In a joint statement that raises the issue of the use of the US nuclear arsenal to protect allies, the two countries reaffirmed that they pledged to use “all available levers”, including diplomatic, military and economic tools, to counter North Korean threats.

It was stressed that a possible North Korean nuclear test would trigger “a strong and decisive response from the governments of both countries.”

“The United States and South Korea express their grave concern at the DPRK’s escalating and destabilizing communications related to the use of nuclear weapons, including its adoption of a new law on nuclear policy,” the statement said.

As agreed mutually, the US also committed to strengthen coordination with South Korea to “continue to deploy and exercise strategic assets in the region in a timely and effective manner.”

The two countries also stressed the importance of the combined F-35 fighter training and the deployment of the US carrier Ronald Reagan in the Indo-Pacific region. A commitment was also made to “pursue cooperation to promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, including through bilateral exercises and training, as well as trilateral and multilateral cooperation with partners across the region.”

Late last week, North Korea announced the adoption of a law saying that the country is ready to launch pre-emptive nuclear attacks, including in response to attacks by conventional weapons from other countries. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country’s nuclear state status was now “irreversible”.

According to the state-owned North Korean agency KCNA, the new law will allow a northern regime to launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack “automatically” and “immediately to destroy enemy forces” should a foreign power threaten Pyongyang.

“The law provides that the regime may use nuclear weapons in the event of a nuclear or non-nuclear attack by hostile forces against state leaders and our country’s nuclear command organization,” wrote the KCNA.

Experts in the US and South Korea have been warning for several months that the North is getting ready to launch another nuclear test.

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