Washington Warns Overwhelming Response to Any N. Korea Use of Nukes

Washington, – The United States warned that any attack on American allies or use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an “overwhelming” US response as it sought to reassure close ally South Korea that the US has its back.

The statement by US Defense Secretary Ash Carter came as top US and South Korean diplomats and military officials met, weeks after North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test explosion to date, and days after its failed test launch of a ballistic missile, one of more than 20 such tests this year alone.

The flurry of activity has deepened concern over the North’s progress toward having a nuclear warhead it can mount on a long-range missile. The two sides discussed steps to strengthen the so-called “extended deterrence” provided by US nuclear forces in defending South Korea and agreed to begin a high-level dialogue about it. Seoul is looking to allay calls from conservatives at home who want South Korea to develop its own nuclear arsenal.

“The US commitment to the defense of South Korea is unwavering. This includes our commitment to provide extended deterrence, guaranteed by the full spectrum of US defense capabilities,” Carter said in opening remarks. “Make no mistake, any attack on America or our allies will not only be defeated, but any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an overwhelming and effective response,” he said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said the threat posed by North Korea is “more grave than ever” and that the North is “nearing the final stage of nuclear weaponization.” “North Korea’s threat is no longer confined to the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. It’s now a direct threat to the mainland US,” he said after the talks. “The next few years will be the tipping point.” He said defense officials on Thursday would discuss the possibility of deploying US “strategic assets” to the South, an apparent reference to permanently basing nuclear-capable planes or vessels there.

Source: Qatar News Agency