Korean Peninsula tensions rise as South warns ‘end of regime’ in North
Seoul sharply responds to ‘preemptive nuclear strike’ threat by Pyongyang as US nuclear submarine docks in South Korea
By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) – Sharply reacting to a threat of preemptive nuclear strike by Pyongyang, South Korea said on Friday that North Korea will “see end of regime” in such a scenario.
“In the event of any North Korean nuclear attack against the South Korea-US alliance, it will face an immediate, overwhelming and decisive response from the alliance, and (we) strongly warn again that through this, (the attack) will result in the end of the North Korean regime,” said the South Korean Defense Ministry in a statement to Seoul-based Yonhap News.
The reaction came after North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun Nam warned Thursday of a “preemptive nuclear strike” following the arrival of a US nuclear submarine at a South Korean port this week. The submarine, however, left South Korea on Friday.
The US nuclear ballistic missile submarine – the USS Kentucky – arrived on Tuesday at the port city of Busan for the first time since 1981, which South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visited on Wednesday.
Seoul and Washington also held their inaugural meeting of the South Korea-US Nuclear Consultative Group this week, which aims at “strengthening the credibility of the US’ extended deterrence commitment to using the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, to defend its ally,” i.e. South Korea.
Seoul said the meeting and the deployment of the nuclear submarine was a “rightful defensive measure against North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile threats.”
It accused Pyongyang of “clear violations” of UN Security Council resolutions through its nuclear program and missile “provocations.”
“North Korea will never gain any concessions from the South Korea-US alliance through its nuclear development and threats, and (we) urge it to recognize its isolation and destitution will only deepen, and to come out swiftly to the path of denuclearization,” said the Defense Ministry.
Pyongyang dubbed the US submarine tour the “most undisguised and direct nuclear threat to North Korea.
“The US military must realize it has brought its strategic assets into far too dangerous waters,” said the North Korean defense minister on Thursday.
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