Jakarta: Responding to Pyongyang’s accusation that Washington provoked it to test fire intercontinental ballistic missiles by forging a “nuclear alliance’ with Japan and South Korea, the United States today hit back declaring that its commitments to defend South Korea and Japan “are ironclad and backed by the full range of capabilities, including nuclear”.
The US along with Japan and South Korea today publicly resolved to work closely with the international community to block North Korea’s “illicit revenue generation through overseas workers and malicious cyber activities that fund its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programmes”. The foreign ministers of the three countries issued a joint statement today to this effect and urged Pyongyang to “cease its unlawful and escalatory actions” and return to dialogue. The US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told media persons in Jakarta after the East Asia Summit Ministerial that Washington was prepared to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang without preconditions.
It may be mentioned that Pyongyang, after launching the ICBM on July 12, 2023, also stated that Washington was planning to reintroduce nuclear weapons into the Korean peninsula by sending a US nuclear submarine carrying strategic nukes to South Korea for the first time in 40 years.
The joint statement by the US, Japan and South Korea strongly condemned the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK) on July 12, 2023, and claimed this constituted a “clear, flagrant” violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions and posed a “grave threat” to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
“We will work together with the UN and the international community to ensure that UN Security Council resolutions that impose sanctions against the DPRK are fully implemented,” the joint statement said.
The three countries further resolved to strengthen their trilateral security cooperation “to effectively address” the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats including by sharing DPRK missile warning data in real-time and by conducting missile defence exercises, anti-submarine exercises, and maritime interdiction exercises.
While Blinken said the US remains committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, South Korean foreign minister Park Jin said before a trilateral dialogue in Jakarta today that “watertight” coordination among the three countries will be essential to achieve the complete denuclearization of North Korea. Jin said DPRK’s “provocations will not go unpunished”.
Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa said the Indo-Pacific region was in the midst of the “most severe complex security environment” since the end of World War II as seen in North Korea’s intensified nuclear and missile activities – including the last ICBM launch. Yoshimasa said against this backdrop, the “trilateral strategic coordination among Japan, the U.S., and ROK has never been more important”.
– global bihari bureau