South Korea to Coordinate Bilateral and Trilateral Responses with U.S. and Japan to North Korean Provocations, Says Official

Incheon: South Korea is set to align bilateral and trilateral strategies with the United States and Japan in response to ongoing provocations from North Korea, as announced by a senior security official from Seoul on Sunday. This statement comes amid heightened tensions in the region due to North Korea's recent military activities.

According to Yonhap News Agency, who spoke at Incheon International Airport upon returning from the second meeting of the South Korea-U.S. Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) in Washington, there is a growing concern over North Korea's potential military actions, including the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Kim Tae-hyo highlighted the possibility of North Korea conducting an ICBM test in December, referencing the last test-fire of a Hwasong-18 solid-fuel ICBM by North Korea in July.

Kim emphasized the necessity for coordinated actions between South Korea and the U.S., as well as joint measures involving Japan, in the event of continued provocations from North Korea. These actions could include individual and collective responses from the three countries. Furthermore, Kim noted that the U.S. also acknowledges the possibility of North Korean ballistic missile provocations, including ICBM launches, by mid-December or early next year.

The capability of North Korea to equip missiles with nuclear warheads was identified as a significant concern that needs attention by the NCG. In a related development, signaling the seriousness of the situation, the USS Missouri (SSN-780), a Virginia-class nuclear-powered U.S. attack submarine, docked at a key naval base in Busan, located 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul. This deployment follows just three weeks after the arrival of the USS Santa Fe (SSN-763), a Los Angeles-class submarine, at the Jeju Naval Base on the southern resort island, as reported by the South Korean Navy.

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