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N. Korean nuclear, missile programs pose 'ongoing' threat: Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (bottom) speaks at the start of the two-plus-two U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting, held virtually on Thursday, involving US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (top, R) and their Japanese counterparts, in the image captured from the website of the State Department. (State Department website screenshot)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (bottom) speaks at the start of the two-plus-two U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting, held virtually on Thursday, involving US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (top, R) and their Japanese counterparts, in the image captured from the website of the State Department. (State Department website screenshot)
WASHINGTON -- North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose an ongoing threat to the region and the international community, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.

The top US diplomat also highlighted the need to strengthen the US-Japan alliance to meet such threats.

"Meanwhile, the DPRK's unlawful nuclear, missile programs pose an ongoing threat. And we saw that again this week with the most recent launch," Blinken said, referring to North Korea's test launch of a self-claimed hypersonic missile Wednesday (Seoul time).

Blinken made the remarks at the start of annual security consultative talks with his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, that also involved US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

Blinken noted threats facing the allies included what he called China's "provocative actions" in the region and Russia's military buildup along the Ukraine border.

"So, to address these evolving threats, our alliance must not only strengthen the tools we have but also develop new ones,"

Blinken told the virtual meeting. "And I think that's really the focus of the discussions that are about to happen." (Yonhap)
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