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S. Korean parliamentary chief calls for stronger S. Korea-US efforts to address NK threats

By Yonhap

Published : April 18, 2024 - 08:50

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Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea Kim Jin-pyo meets US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at National Assembly in Seoul on August 04, 2022. (Gettyimages) Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea Kim Jin-pyo meets US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at National Assembly in Seoul on August 04, 2022. (Gettyimages)

South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo stressed the need Wednesday to beef up joint deterrence efforts by Seoul and Washington to address evolving North Korean military capabilities, which he said pose a "direct" threat to the continental United States.

Kim made the remarks during a forum hosted by the Institute for Korean Studies at George Washington University, urging Pyongyang to cease its nuclear threats and return to the "path of denuclearization."

"Despite South Korea's attempts to initiate dialogue, North Korea has escalated provocations to unprecedented levels with advancements in ICBMs, SLBMs and nuclear-powered submarines. North Korea now poses a direct threat not only to the Korean Peninsula but also to the continental US," he said.

ICBM and SLBM stand for intercontinental ballistic missile and submarine-launched ballistic missile, respectively.

"(South Korea and the US) have consistently strengthened the operational capabilities of extended deterrence. I firmly believe that we are moving in the right direction and must continue to intensify our collective endeavors in this regard," he added.

Extended deterrence refers to America's commitment to using the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear to defend its ally. The allies have been pursuing an integrated form of extended deterrence with Seoul leveraging its high-tech conventional military capabilities.

Kim stressed that the international community will "never" accept North Korea as a nuclear power, highlighting Seoul's steadfast efforts to stop the North's provocative activities and persuade the recalcitrant regime to come back to diplomacy.

"I strongly urge North Korea to cease nuclear threats and provocations, and come back to the path of denuclearization," he said.

Moreover, he pointed out Pyongyang's activities to bankroll its weapons of mass destruction programs through illicit means.

"Our two countries must work together to prevent North Korea from accessing illegal sources of funding to finance its nuclear program," he said.

"Despite the dire situation faced by North Korean residents, including food and power shortages, the regime continues to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities, using illegal funding through cyber hacking and other activities," he added.

The speaker then called for the international community to stand united to block Pyongyang from accessing illegal financial resources and to dissuade it from its nuclear program.

He also underlined the "imperative" for the international community to closely coordinate to respond to growing military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow.

"There are also growing concerns over recent military cooperation between North Korea and Russia, which poses a significant threat to peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in other parts of the world," he said. (Yonhap)