U.S. and Korea to discuss response to North

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U.S. and Korea to discuss response to North

South Korea and the United States will discuss in Washington next week possible responses to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, including sanctions, other forms of diplomatic pressure and military deterrence.

A so-called “two-plus-two” dialogue between Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se and Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo and their U.S. counterparts Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is scheduled for Oct. 19 in Washington, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday.

They will also take part in the 48th U.S.-Korea Security Consultation Meeting the following day.

During the meeting, they will “extensively discuss” the South Korea-U.S. alliance, North Korean and regional issues, global partnership and will adopt a joint statement concerning these matters, said Cho June-hyuck, spokesman of the ministry.

“In particular,” Cho said, “under the grave circumstance where North Korea is issuing qualitatively escalated nuclear and missile threats, including its fifth nuclear test, the meeting is expected to cover a wide range of matters concerning North Korea, including sanctions and other forms of diplomatic pressure on the North, as well as extended deterrence and military deterrence against it.”

This meeting, Cho said, is expected to serve as a “significant opportunity to reaffirm the stability of the alliance and strong coordination” between Seoul and Washington in the midst of tension on the Korean Peninsula.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Yun met in Seoul with Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as the UN Security Council is working on a resolution to implement stronger sanctions against Pyongyang for its fifth nuclear test last month.

She told reporters afterward, “We are working around the clock to secure the passage of this resolution as quickly as possible,” adding that they will not rush the resolution, as it has to be “practically impactful.”

Close coordination between Seoul and Washington comes at a time of alarm regarding the speed with which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is progressing Pyongyang’s development of its intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic-missile technologies.

Citing a military source, Japan’s TV Asahi reported Monday that Kim Jong-un ordered the completion of an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles), which will put the U.S. continent in range, and a submarine-launched ballistic missile of 5,000 kilometers by the end of this year.

Gen. Lee Sun-jin, chairman of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), also kicked off a five-day trip to the United States Tuesday to discuss deterrence against the North with U.S. officials. Lee will meet on Wednesday with Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and will meet with Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. JCS, and take part in the 41st Military Committee Meeting on Thursday, according to the JCS.

Lee, Dunford and Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of staff of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, are also scheduled to hold a trilateral meeting on a coordinated response to Pyongyang’s provocations that day.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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