Blinken says US is ready to change military stance in response to North Korea


Blinken’s comments, which he and his South Korean counterpart made during a press conference at the State Department, come because North Korea has carried out numerous missile launches and the US is concerned about a possible nuclear test by Pyongyang.

“We remain concerned about the prospects for what would be a seventh multi-government nuclear test,” Blinken said. “We know that the North Koreans have prepared for such a test. We are extremely vigilant about it.”

Blinken said the US is “preparing for any unforeseen circumstances” and is in “very close contact” with partners like South Korea and Japan “to be able to respond quickly” if the North Koreans conduct such a test.

The senior US diplomat said the US is committed to “talking about how we expand the scope and scale of combined military exercises for defense and preparedness purposes, training on and around the Korean missile.”

“And of course we want to make sure that we have all the defensive capabilities to face any possible provocation or aggression from North Korea,” he added.

Blinken did not provide specific details about the adjustments to US military attitudes being considered. In March, the US Indo-Pacific Command announced it had ordered “the intensification of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities in the Yellow Sea, as well as increased preparedness of our ballistic missile defense forces in the region” in response to missile launches from North America. -Korea. †

Last week, US and South Korean fighter jets conducted a joint flyover over the Yellow Sea — a show of force that came days after North Korea’s launch of eight short-range ballistic missiles.

“South Korea and the US have shown their strong ability and will to strike swiftly and accurately against all of North Korea’s provocations by demonstrating their combined defense capabilities and attitude through this combined Air Force demonstration flight,” the South said. Korean Ministry of Defense.

South Korea’s Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sup said on Sunday that his country will “strengthen its capabilities to better implement the US’s comprehensive deterrence and dramatically increase its response capability…to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.” to startle”.

North Korea’s “repeated missile provocations” made progress in “quality and quantity,” Lee said, adding that this and the preparations for a nuclear test were a “serious challenge threatening peace and stability.”

Despite ongoing provocations from Pyongyang, Blinken reiterated Monday that the US “remains committed to a diplomatic approach”, is willing to deal with North Korea unconditionally and has “no hostile intentions” towards the nation.

“But our efforts to get started without preconditions so far have received no response from North Korea,” he said. “In fact, the only response we’ve seen so far is this multitude of missile tests.”

Simone McCarthy, Heather Chen, Brad Lendon, Yoonjung Seo, Ellie Kaufman and Barbara Starr of CNN contributed to this report.

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