The U.S. warned North Korea on Wednesday that any use of nuclear weapons against South Korea would “be met with effective and overwhelming response”.
The warning was contained in a statement issued jointly on Wednesday by the Governments of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the U.S. after the inaugural meeting of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) in Washington, D.C.
The joint statement said the EDSCG, established by the U.S.-ROK (Republic of Korea)Foreign and Defense Ministers’ (2+2) Meeting on Oct. 19, 2016, was led by vice ministerial-level officials from the ROK and the U.S.
“Officials from both sides held comprehensive and in-depth discussions on strategic and policy issues regarding extended deterrence against North Korea, including how to better leverage the full breadth of national power – using diplomacy, information, military, and economic elements.
“The United States reiterated its ironclad and unwavering commitment to draw on the full range of its military capabilities, including the nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defence, to provide extended deterrence for the ROK.
“The United States reaffirmed the longstanding U.S. policy that any attack on the United States or its allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an effective and overwhelming response.
“In particular, the United States emphasised that it remains steadfast in meeting these enduring commitments and providing immediate support to the ROK.
“In response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the officials reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to regularly deploy U.S. strategic assets for the defence of the ROK, as well as to enhance such measures and identify new or additional steps to strengthen deterrence.”
It said the officials also highlighted that the U.S., in 2016, demonstrated its commitment and resolve to the South Korea by exercising extended deterrence through measures to enhance missile defense capabilities and through clear demonstrations of the U.S. nuclear triad.
“This includes multiple B-52 strategic bomber flights as well as visits by South Korean officials to observe a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch on Feb. 25 and board a nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN) during its port visit to Guam on Nov. 1.”
The joint statement emphasised the importance of the EDSCG as a high-level consultative mechanism and with a common understanding that such various measures to strengthen their combined defense were necessary to maintain effective deterrence of North Korea.
The two sides expressed their intent to continue alliance discussions through the EDSCG on how to best tailor their response to the evolving North Korea’s nuclear threat.