By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, March 2 (Yonhap) — The United States is establishing and will continue to establish a comprehensive deterrent against North Korea’s evolving nuclear threats, a senior U.S. official said Thursday, adding that the objective of deterrence is to show that the cost of aggression is greater than what the aggressor can bear.
Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said the United States was also working to bolster South Korea’s confidence in the United States’ extended deterrence.
“We’re focused on preparation, and we’re not going to slow down because of these threats,” the Pentagon official said when asked about North Korea’s recent threat to conduct further testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
A North Korean test-firing of an ICBM last month was followed by a statement by Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, that the North could use the Pacific Ocean as a “firing range” if the United States continued to hold joint military exercises with South Korea.
“You keep doing what you’re doing. You continue to build deterrence and you do so with confidence, and you do so in a way that signals that the cost of aggression would be greater than your adversaries can bear. Ratner said at a forum hosted by the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
He added that the United States was strengthening its broad deterrence, while working to reassure Seoul of the American commitment to the defense of South Korea.
Pyongyang conducted 69 ballistic missile tests last year, including eight ICBM tests. This number marks a new record for ballistic missiles fired in a single year. The country’s previous record was 25.
“We are now discussing new mechanisms … to address some of the issues that we know are really important to Seoul, which is to better understand our strategic operations, our planning and our thinking,” Ratner said.
“We’ve also done site visits with senior Korean officials to go to US strategic sites to see, understand and meet people there on what we’re talking about in a very concrete way,” he said. . -he adds.
Seoul and Washington hosted the eighth tabletop exercise of the Deterrence Strategy Committee in Washington last month, which the parties said focused on improving the implementation of U.S. extended deterrence through “joint planning and execution”.
Extended deterrence refers to the US commitment to use all of its military capabilities, including nuclear, to help defend its ally in the event of an eventuality.
North Korea’s unprecedented missile launches and recent ICBM tests have raised fears in Seoul that the United States will not come to the aid of South Korea when it is attacked by North Korea if it the fact. could lead Pyongyang to target major US cities with nuclear-tipped ICBMs.
“I think it’s important to remember the purpose of these activities, which is to deter aggression and deter conflict,” Ratner said.
“It’s not to deter Kim Jong-un from killing a bunch of fish with his missiles. We’re focused on preparation. We’re focused on deterrence and working to make sure Kim Jong-un doesn’t take of risks that go far beyond its capacity,” he added.
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