US vows full military defense of allies against North Korea

TOKYO (AP) — The United States will use its military capabilities, including nuclear, conventional and missile weapons, to defend its allies Japan and South Korea, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said Tuesday in a warning to North Korea. . against increasing their provocations.

Sherman said that repeated North Korean shelling Ballistic missiles and artillery have been provocative military operations in recent weeks. North Korea described them as a test for the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

“It’s very irresponsible, dangerous and destabilizing,” Sherman said during talks in Tokyo with South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong. The two officials met with their Japanese counterparts on Wednesday ahead of the trilateral meeting.

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It will be the second in-person meeting between the three officials since conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol took office in May, signaling an improvement in strained relations between Japan and South Korea. A year ago, the vice ministers of Japan and South Korea refused to attend a joint news conference after trilateral talks in Washington, leaving Sherman to address the media.

Sherman said North Korea needs to understand that the US commitment to the security of South Korea and Japan is “stable”.

“And we will use all of America’s defense capabilities to defend our allies, including nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities,” he said.

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Cho expressed concern with Sherman about North Korea’s new nuclear weapons policy adopted in September. increases the possibility of arbitrary use of nuclear weapons.

“This will create serious tension on the Korean Peninsula,” Cho said.

Sherman met with Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori on Tuesday and reaffirmed the further strengthening of the Japan-US alliance and other shared goals, including the complete denuclearization of North Korea and their joint response to China’s growing actions in the region.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada recently said that North Korea has succeeded in miniaturizing nuclear warheads while significantly expanding its missile capabilities by diversifying its launch technologies, making it more difficult to stop.

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Japanese authorities have also warned of the possibility of North Korea’s nuclear test in the near future.

Officials from Japan and South Korea met later on Tuesday to discuss ways to improve their countries’ relations, which have been strained by Japan’s wartime practices, including the abuse of Korean forced laborers and the forcing of girls and young women to work in Japanese brothels. were very intense. soldiers.

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This story corrects the name of South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Cho to Hyundong, not Hyeondong.

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