U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter says now is the time to let the world know about the strength and perseverance of the South Korea-U.S. military alliance.
During a meeting with South Korea's Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin in Seoul on Monday, Carter, who's currently on a four-nation Asia trip, said that Seoul and Washington will further strengthen that alliance to counter North Korea's threats.
He also reaffirmed America's defense committment to South Korea vowing to provide all-range military capabilities, including a nuclear umbrella.
The two sides also discussed ways to develop joint deterrence strategies against North Korea's nuclear threats according to various scenarios.
While expressing deep concern about Pyongyang's attempt to scrap the 60-year old Korean Armistice Agreement, the deputy secretary said that the U.S., together with South Korea, will respond firmly to any North Korean provocations.
When asked about whether the U.S. budget cuts would affect the current status of the military alliance, Carter said it wouldn't.
He in fact said he would put a priority on providing additional combat forces bound to South Korea, deemed necessary to ensure America's committment to defending the South.
"Meanwhile, South Korea's Defense Ministry said on the same day that North Korea's annual winter drills, which had intensified to a higher level than usual, had gone back to normal, which seems to support the ministry's previous observation that Pyongyang's verbal threats are more likely to be part of a psychological war."
Han Da-eun, Arirang News.