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S. Korean, US Defense Chiefs Warn of 'End of Kim Jong-un Regime' in Event of Nuke Attack

Hot Issues of the Week2022-11-06


Seoul and Washington's defense chiefs held their annual meeting in Washington, and warned of "the end of the Kim Jong-un regime" if North Korea uses a nuclear weapon against the South. During the 54th South Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting(SCM) at the Pentagon on Thursday, South Korea's defense minister Lee Jong-sup and his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, pledged to constantly deploy U.S. strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula that will equate to a more permanent presence.

South Korean Minister of Defense Lee Jong-sup and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin checked out nuclear-capable B-52 as well as B-1 bombers, visiting Joint Base Andrews on Thursday.

In an apparent warning to Pyongyang, the two defense chiefs staged a photo op in front of the strategic weapons with crew members.

[US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin]

"This gives you the global reach. It's not something that we just talk about. These are things that we rehearse every day. Our confidence in our ability to get the job is extraordinary... That airplane can put bombs on target with precision that's just really incredible."

[South Korean Minister of Defense Lee Jong-sup (Korean-English)]

"And I'd like to reiterate that all the effort that you put in is directly put in for the security of the Korean Peninsula. And you play a very crucial role for the peace... and I make a request for you to think that the peace on the Korean Peninsula is the peace of the world and carry on with your efforts."

The two sides held a meeting at the Pentagon earlier in the day as North Korea is raising tensions, firing an intercontinental ballistic missile and dozens of short-range missiles.

In a joint news conference after the meeting, they warned of regime collapse in the event  of an actual nuclear attack.

[South Korean Minister of Defense Lee Jong-sup (Korean-English)] 

"Secretary Austin and I affirm that any nuclear attack by the DPRK, including the use of tactical nuclear weapons, is unacceptable and will result in the end of the Kim Jong-un regime by the overwhelming and decisive response of the alliance."

The two sides agreed to mobilize U.S. strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula more frequently to contain North Korea.

[South Korean Minister of Defense Lee Jong-sup (Korean-English)] 

"... Secretary Austin pledged to effectively respond to any DPRK provocation by employing U.S. strategic assets to the level equivalent to constant deployment through increasing the frequency and intensity of strategic asset deployment in and around the Korean Peninsula."

[US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin]

"... no new deployment of strategic assets on a permanent basis, but you'll see assets move in and out on a routine basis."

As North Korea responded to the joint South Korea-U.S. Vigilant Storm air force exercise by firing missiles, the two defense chiefs also agreed to extend the five-day drill by an additional day to Saturday. Shortly after the decision was announced Thursday, North Korea fired more short-range missiles.

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