THE UNITED STATES has reassured its allies South Korea and Japan of its “ironclad” commitment to continuing its policy of deterrence against North Korea.
South Korea’s defence ministry said that during a working-level video conference on Wednesday, the US “stressed that its extended deterrence commitment will be guaranteed through all categories of military capabilities including conventional and nuclear weapons,” as quoted by Yonhap.
The partners agreed to continue cooperation on applying “maximum pressure” on the North to end its nuclear weapons programme.
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North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, meanwhile, warned of more “gift packages” for the US.
“I am proud of saying that just two days ago on the third of September, DPRK successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test for intercontinental ballistic rocket under its plan for building a strategic nuclear force,” Han Tae Song told the Geneva forum.
“The recent self-defence measures by my country, DPRK, are a ‘gift package’ addressed to none other than the US,” Han said.
“The US will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,” he added without elaborating.
US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood sought to turn the tables on Han by using his language against him.
“With regard to the so-called gift packages the North is presenting, my recommendation to the North would be, instead of spending inordinate amounts of money on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, that it gives its people the gift package of peace with their neighbours, economic development and an opportunity to re-join the family of nations.”
Han said military measures being taken by North Korea were “an exercise of restraint and justified self-defence right” to counter “the ever-growing and decade-long US nuclear threat and hostile policy aimed at isolating my country.
“Pressure or sanctions will never work on my country,” Han declared, adding: “The DPRK will never under any circumstances put its nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table.”
Wood said that North Korea had defied the international community once again with its test.
“We look forward to working with our partners in the Council with regard to a new resolution that will put some of the strongest sanctions possible on the DPRK,” he told the conference.
“Advances in the regime’s nuclear and missile programme are a threat to us all … now is the time to say tests, threats and destabilising actions will no longer be tolerated,” Wood said.
“It can no longer be business as usual with this regime.”
The White House said on Monday President Donald Trump had agreed “in principle” to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles following the North’s latest test.
The US accused North Korea’s trading partners of aiding its nuclear ambitions and said Pyongyang was “begging for war.”
Additional reporting from Reuters.