USA reasserts 'ironclad' commitment to defend S.Korea
07 September, 2017, 01:40 | Author: Lloyd Doyle
SEOUL-Pyongyang's recent string of missile and nuclear tests has brought the US closer to its allies in Tokyo and Seoul, rather than dividing them as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had hoped, a top USA naval commander said.
The White House on Wednesday released details of calls Tuesday with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Moon, a liberal who took office in May, had initially showed a preference for a diplomatic approach on North Korea, but his government has since taken a harder stance as the North continued its pace in weapons tests.
President Donald Trump has spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the latest provocation by North Korea.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday said the USA will answer any threat from the North with a "massive military response".
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has reaffirmed Washington's commitment to defend its South Korean ally, warning once more that any North Korean threat would trigger an "overwhelming" response, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Their conversation came days after North Korea's latest and most powerful nuclear test.
Meanwhile, hundreds of local residents and activists are gathered near the USA base protesting the deployment.
Trump has offered "conceptual approval" on the purchase of billions of dollars' worth of US military weapons and equipment by South Korea.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems will be deployed on September 7 in the USA military base 300kms from Seoul.
Some construction would be carried out to deploy the four launchers at the site in Seongju, south of Seoul, the defence ministry said in a statement. Components of the Thaad battery arrived at the USA military's Osan Air Base on March 7 and a radar system and two launchers were installed on a former golf course in Seongju on April 26 - less than two weeks before the May 9 presidential election that brought Moon Jae-in to power.
Moscow and Beijing oppose the THAAD deployment, saying it could further deteriorate the nuclear crisis and provoke North Korean aggression.
Russian Federation and China both share a border with North Korea.
North Korea's detonation of a hydrogen bomb on Sunday marked its most powerful nuclear test to date.
The US is also expected to present a North Korean sanctions resolution at the United Nations, and is aiming for a vote to take place next week, AFP reported on Monday.
But the nuclear test changed all that.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he hopes their two countries can work together to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.
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