Washington and Seoul warned Pyongyang Thursday that the use of any kind of nuclear weapons against Seoul or other regional allies would lead to the end of the regime of North Korean President Kim Jong Un, as North Korea continues to destabilize the Korean peninsula with increasingly rapid missile tests.
North Korea has launched more than 20 missiles over the past two days in response to joint US-South Korean military exercises that began on Monday. The launches pushed the South Koreans into shelters.
Follow-up in South Korea of a TV broadcast of Pyongyang’s missile tests
After Thursday’s meeting at the Pentagon, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong Sob issued a joint statement saying they “strongly condemn” North Korea’s escalating military parade, including its ballistic missile and artillery tests.
Any use of nuclear weapons against Seoul or other regional allies such as Japan, Lee said at a press conference with Austin, after their meeting, “will lead to the end of Kim Jong Un’s regime through a crushing and decisive response.”
He added that Washington and Seoul are “working on response options for all possible scenarios of nuclear use” by North Korea.
While Austin stated that the escalation of Pyongyang’s aggression will only lead to the permanent transfer of more American forces or assets, such as additional aircraft carriers, to the region, to strengthen the American military presence there.
He added that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan visited Korea in September for the first time in five years.
Washington and Seoul announced the indefinite extension of military exercises that were scheduled to last until Friday.
Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have also been heightened by recently declassified reports that North Korea is providing artillery weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said North Korea has shipped an undisclosed number of artillery shells to Russia, but “is trying to make it look like they’re going to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.”
Washington condemns North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile
In an earlier reaction, the United States urged all countries to strengthen sanctions against North Korea as it violated UN Security Council resolutions Launched an intercontinental ballistic missile.
“The United States strongly condemns the DPRK,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Adrian Watson for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile“, confirming South Korea’s announcement of the launch early Thursday.
She added that President Joe Biden and his national security team “are working to assess the situation in close coordination with our allies and partners.”
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that this operation, which followed The launch of a torrent of missiles of all kinds the previous day It represents a “clear violation” of UN Security Council resolutions banning the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Price added that the launches showed North Korea’s threat to “its neighbors, the region, international peace and security, and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.”
“This act underscores the need for all countries to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions related to the DPRK, which are aimed at preventing it from acquiring the technologies and materials needed to conduct these destabilizing tests,” he added.
Price did not specify specific countries, but China is North Korea’s main ally and economic partner.
China and Russia vetoed in May a US-led attempt to impose more sanctions on North Korea over an earlier wave of missile launches.