US vows to protect South Korea with nuclear capabilities amid North Korean threat

US Secretary of State Antony Brinken said the US remains committed to using all military force, including nuclear weapons, to defend South Korea from North Korean aggression.

Speaking alongside South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin at the press conference, Blinken reaffirmed America’s commitment to improving the defense of allies against common threats and the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

He called the U.S.-South Korea alliance “the linchpin” of peace in the region and said he sought to strengthen trilateral security cooperation with Japan to deter North Korea’s missile provocations.

“We are committed to defending the Republic of Korea using the full range of our nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities,” said Blinken. told reporters in Washington.

“Therefore, there is no doubt about our commitment to protect our allies, partners and friends, including North Korea, and to extend deterrence,” he added. Pyongyang is the capital of North Korea.

The two countries agreed to strengthen extended deterrence while “maintaining a strong combined defense system,” adding that they would respond to any provocations from North Korea with a “resolute and united response.”

“Peace without denuclearization is false peace. [South] Not only South Korea, but also international peace and security,” he said.

They pledged to step up efforts to “close loopholes” in UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea and cut off the regime’s “illegal sources of revenue” by countering North Korea’s illegal cyber activities.

China’s role

Park also called on North Korea’s main ally, the Communist Party of China (CCP), to use its influence to curb North Korea’s missile launches.

“We agreed that China has a clear capacity and responsibility to influence North Korea’s actions. I need to,” he said.

President Joe Biden has previously urged the Chinese Communist Party to restrain North Korea from conducting a nuclear test. Failure to do so would result in the United States taking “specific actions that are more defensive.”

The meeting between Blinken and Park Jin came just days after the two countries’ defense secretaries agreed to expand joint military exercises. About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea, making him one of the largest US military deployments in the world.

North Korea launched an unprecedented number of missiles in 2022, one of which reportedly flew over Japan and issued an alert warning citizens of Hokkaido and Aomori prefectures to evacuate.

In September 2022, North Korea approved a law allowing it to “automatically” launch a nuclear strike against any “hostile force” posing an imminent threat.

Postponement of travel to China

Blinken said at a press conference that he was postponing a trip to China that was due to start on Friday after a Chinese spy balloon was spotted flying over the United States in a clear violation of US sovereignty. .

“At this time, we have concluded that the circumstances are not conducive to a constructive visit,” he said.

Mr. Blinken told senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi that the incident the night before his visit was an “irresponsible act” by China, but Washington remains committed to its involvement, and the situation permits. said he would visit.

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said the balloon had changed course and was hovering east at about 60,000 feet above the central United States, demonstrating maneuverability. He said he would probably be crossing the border for the next few days.

China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that the flight of an “airship” over the United States was a force majeure accident, accusing US politicians and the media of using the situation to discredit China.

Reuters contributed to this report.