Washington said it would use all its military capabilities to defend Seoul and Tokyo
The US military will deploy its full arsenal, including nuclear weapons, to protect South Korea and Japan from attack, a senior State Department official said, also slamming Pyongyang for its“dangerous” and “destabilizing” weapons testing, while swearing “battleship” cooperation with allies in Asia.
Speaking ahead of several rounds of talks in the Japanese capital with her South Korean and Japanese counterparts on Tuesday, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said Washington would deploy its “nuclear, conventional and missile defense” forces should both allies come under attack, emphasizing the United States’ “nuclear umbrella” policy.
Sherman went on to condemn North Korea’s recent missile launches – a major focus of meetings this week – slamming the DPRK’s record number of weapons tests this year as “deeply irresponsible, dangerous and destabilizing.”
In a separate meeting with Sherman ahead of the three-party meeting alongside Japan, South Korea’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Hyundong said Pyongyang’s actions were “Creating serious tensions on the Korean peninsula”, sound the alarm over an update to North Korea’s nuclear weapons policy last month.
In addition to a flurry of weapons tests and shows of force in retaliation for the joint US-South Korean war games, the North recently announced that it had conducted a drill simulating the loading of tactical nuclear warheads. in a silo hidden under a tank, part of a series of exercises launched in September to ensure the readiness of its nuclear forces.
North Korea maintains that its nuclear arsenal is for self-defense only and has repeatedly criticized joint US-South Korean military exercises as rehearsals for an invasion.
US officials have repeatedly predicted an imminent North Korean nuclear test in recent months, although the country has refrained from any actual detonation since 2017. Nonetheless, the predictions come amid a major spike in tensions between the two Koreas, as both sides continue to issue threats. and give military demonstrations.
On Wednesday, Washington, Seoul and Tokyo pledged closer military ties amid “Provocation” by Pyongyang, and also “agreed that a response on an unprecedented scale would be required in the event that North Korea conducts a seventh nuclear test,” a South Korean official told reporters.
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