The US, South Korea, and Japan on Wednesday agreed to further strengthen deterrence to counter North Korea amid growing tension on Korean Peninsula.
Senior officials of the three countries, including US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun Dong, and Japan Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori, met in Tokyo and discussed the regional security situation and fears of Pyongyang’s seventh nuclear test, Kyodo News reported.
Japan’s Takeo Mori said they will never tolerate the nuclear blackmail employed by Russia in its war against Ukraine.
The officials also opposed any attempt to change the status quo in the East and South China seas, the news agency reported.
Meanwhile, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said their efforts continue to prevent North Korea from additional nuclear tests.
“We have put our focus on trying to prevent North Korea from conducting additional nuclear tests and advancing its nuclear capabilities, but it’s time to change our strategy,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Lee as saying.
“The priority should be on deterring the use of nuclear weapons by giving them a clear sense that if North Korea attempts to use nuclear weapons, it will bring about an end to the North Korean regime and it will disappear completely,” he added.
He also called on Washington to ensure the execution of its “extended deterrence” commitment to use the full range of its military assets, including nuclear capabilities, to defend an ally like South Korea, according to the agency.
Tension on Korean Peninsula further grew after recent military drills by South Korea and the US and North Korean missile tests.
North Korea recently fired a short-range ballistic missile into the East Sea, two days after firing two long-range strategic cruise missiles, involving units operating “tactical nukes.”
On Oct. 4, the US and South Korean forces held live-fire joint drills after North Korea fired a missile over Japan for the first time in five years.
Tensions in the region began in 2020 when North Korea attacked and blew up the inter-Korean liaison office along the border. Seoul has threatened a strong response if Pyongyang “further worsens the situation.”