Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and South Korean Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo delivered remarks Thursday as part of a “2+2” ministerial meeting. Kerry cut straight to the chase, discussing the problematic “actions and the policies” of North Korea, an increasingly erratic and ominous dictatorship which has troubled its neighbors and the US with repeated nuclear weapons testing, in direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
The Secretary of State described the regime’s latest nuclear and ballistic missile tests in no uncertain terms as “a threat to regional stability and yet another blatant example of a violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”
“There should be no doubt that the United States will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves and to honor the security commitments that we have made to allies, including the Republic of Korea,” Kerry affirmed. “We will deploy as soon as possible a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery to our Korean ally.”
Defense Secretary Carter noted the sixty year alliance between South Korea and the US, based on “our common values, shared interests, and mutual trust.”
“We’ve stood together as a lynchpin of regional security and prosperity,” Carter said. The Defense Secretary noted as well the “grave threat” posed by North Korean nuclear testing, pledging that the US and South Korea would continue to “modernize” their alliance and “address evolving threats…we’ll make the plans we need to strengthen peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, in the region, and around the world.”
In his remarks, South Korean Defense Minister Han concurred with Carter, stating that North Korea’s missile testing poses “a direct and real threat not only on the Korean Peninsula but also to the U.S. and beyond,” should it be allowed to continue.
“As such, I hope that we will derive more solid and watertight measures against Pyongyang at this meeting today,” Han concluded. “I look forward to discussing ways to promote firm, extended deterrence and build an even more robust, combined readiness posture on the Korean Peninsula to enable us to strongly respond to any threats and provocations of North Korea.”