MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States confirmed its readiness to further deploy strategic weapons in South Korea to counter threats from the North, US and South Korean defense officials said in a joint statement after holding a US-Korean Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) meeting in Washington.
"In response to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, the officials reaffirmed the commitment of the U.S. to regularly deploy U.S. strategic assets for the defense of the Republic of Korea," the statement, published by the US State Department on Tuesday, said.
In July, Seoul and Washington agreed to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea's Seongju County amid growing tensions spurred by North Korea's ballistic and nuclear tests. The THAAD system is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles at the terminal incoming stage. The move has been criticized by neighboring China and Russia as inappropriate, possibly disproportionate and affecting other countries' interests.
On September 5, Pyongyang launched three ballistic missiles in the direction of the Sea of Japan. Several days later it conducted a successful test of a nuclear warhead, which is believed to be the fifth and largest blast since Pyongyang began pursuing nuclear and ballistic missile programs. On October 14, North Korea carried out a failed test of the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile near the northwestern city of Kusong. The tests came in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Pyongyang has insisted on the United States signing a peace treaty instead of the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement which ended the Korean War, but Washington has rejected the proposals.