Biden and Yun warn Pyongyang of any nuclear attack

Biden and Yun warn Pyongyang of any nuclear attack

US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Sok Yul on Wednesday warned North Korea against any nuclear attack that would trigger a response that would “end” the regime in Pyongyang.

Speaking at a news conference following their meeting at the White House, the two leaders highlighted the strengthening of the US nuclear shield and their “unbreakable alliance,” which “was forged in wartime and thrived in peacetime,” Biden said.

And the US President warned that “a nuclear attack by North Korea on the United States, its allies or partners is unacceptable and will lead to the end of any regime that decides to take such action.”

For his part, Mr. Yun believed that peace with his northern neighbor depended on “overwhelming superpower”, not “good will on the other side”.

The South Korean president, strong in symbols, is the second foreign leader under the Biden presidency to be honored with a state visit, following that of French President Emmanuel Macron last December.

In the “Washington Declaration” adopted on Wednesday, the United States and South Korea agreed to significantly enhance their defense cooperation, including nuclear, through closer “consultations”.

“Our two countries agreed to start immediate bilateral consultations in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack, and promised a swift and decisive response using the full force of our alliance, including the United States’ nuclear weapons,” Yoon said.

Thus, the United States must reassure its South Korean ally, in the face of North Korea, which this year carried out a record level of ballistic missile launches.

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The message is also directed at China, which denounces Washington, and will not use its influence enough to change course in Pyongyang.

Moreover, Washington is also sending a signal of its increasingly firm commitment to the Asia-Pacific region after it recently strengthened defense agreements with Australia, Japan and the Philippines, whose president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., is expected to be in the White House on May 1.

Mr. Biden should also head to the next G7 summit in mid-May in Japan, and then to Sydney for a “quartet” summit, which includes the United States, Australia, Japan and India.

For Frank Ohm, of the Institute for Peace in Washington, these announcements could not have the expected effect.

He said: “History shows that the tightening of deterrence not only deters North Korean military exercises, but also exacerbates them.”

– nuclear submarine –

Among the actions outlined under this “Washington Declaration,” a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine stopped in South Korea for the first time in four decades.

However, the deployment of this submarine equipped with ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads should remain “accidental”.

Moreover, this “Washington Declaration” establishes a mechanism for consultation and exchange of information with Seoul on nuclear deterrence.

“The United States hasn’t taken such action, really, since the days of the Cold War with a handful of our closest allies in Europe,” said an official who requested anonymity.

However, the United States has no intention of stationing nuclear weapons in South Korea, and Seoul reaffirms its commitment not to seek its own arsenal.

The two countries reaffirm their goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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Besides submarines, there would be a “regular cadence of visits from bombers and aircraft carriers”. The official stressed that there would be no “permanent deployment of these means or nuclear weapons.”

Washington has also taken care to warn China in advance, while Beijing is likely to condemn a new escalation in the region.

President Yun had arrived to the cheers of a few hundred people gathered outside the White House and received military honors in a well-rehearsed ceremony.

The two chiefs are still to partake with their wives of a gala dinner in the evening.

Yoon is scheduled to address both houses of Congress on Thursday before heading to Boston on Friday to visit prestigious universities at MIT and Harvard, before returning to Korea on Saturday.

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