Recounting the 2010 sinking of the ROKS Cheonan and continued belligerence from North Korea, Defense Sec. Ash Carter and South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo sharply criticized North Korea and demanded the hermit state halt its nuclear ambitions during a mutual defense conference in Seoul.
North Korea has publicly expressed its aim of delivering a satellite into orbit; this is a claim which both the United States and South Korea hypothesize is Pyongyang’s disguised effort to continue testing long-range ballistic missile tests.
“Both are stark reminders that North Korea is an upclose, dangerous and continuing threat to the security of the peninsula and the region,” Carter stated in a news conference.
A joint statement released by the two defense chiefs read:
“The minister and the secretary reaffirmed that any North Korean aggression or military provocation is not to be tolerated.”
Included in the discussions between Carter and Han were: Enhancing co-operation in the areas of cyberspace and outer space.
Additionally, the talks produced an agreement to transfer operational control of forces as Seoul enhances combat readiness programs in the event of a North Korean assault on South Korea.
Neither Carter nor Han disclosed specifics of their plan.
North Korea recognizes the absence of America’s presence in the region.
Capitalizing on Chinese expansion, particularly in its man-made islands in the Spratly Island group, now exceeding 2,000 acres, North Korea is joining the queue.
The further the United States retreats from areas where its military presence once brought peace and stability, the more rapidly thoroughly corrupt and overambitious regimes fill the vacuum.
South Korea must be prepared for the rampant lawlessness on the horizon.
[Reuters] [Photo courtesy Ars Technica]