South Korea bolstering defense capacity to counter North Korean threat
South Korea will enhance its defense capabilities and work closely with Japan and the United States to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat, the nation’s defense minister said.
Lee Jong-sup, speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue security meeting in Singapore in June 2022, said the situation on the Korean Peninsula posed a global threat, and he urged North Korea to immediately end its nuclear weapon and missile programs.
The U.S. warned in June that North Korea is preparing to conduct a seventh nuclear test and said it will again push for United Nations sanctions if that happens.
“The South Korean government will strengthen capabilities to better implement the United States’ extended deterrence, and we will strengthen the response capabilities of the South Korean military to deter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” Lee, pictured, said at the regional security summit.
“Moreover, we would like to strengthen security cooperation between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs,” he said.
North Korea promoted its key nuclear negotiator to foreign minister, state media reported in mid-June, as leader Kim Jong Un vowed to his ruling party that he would use “power for power” to fight threats to the country’s sovereignty.
North Korea has carried out at least 18 rounds of weapons tests in 2022, underscoring its evolving nuclear and missile arsenals.
Lee said South Korea was ready to extend economic support to North Korea if it ended its nuclear program.
“Should North Korea make substantial progress in denuclearization, our government will pursue a bold plan that can yield groundbreaking achievements for North Korea’s economy and its citizens’ quality of life,” he said.
IMAGE CREDIT: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS