NKorea poses threat to peace

Capital News

Update 10 minutes ago

SEOUL, Oct 22 - US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday labelled North Korea a grave threat to international peace and promised to continue protecting Washington's allies in the region under a nuclear umbrella.

Speaking at annual security talks with his South Korean counterpart, Gates pledged to employ the full array of US military might as a deterrent to the North's nuclear and missile programmes.

"North Korea continues to pose a threat to South Korea, to the region and to others," Gates said.

"And, as such, I want to reaffirm the unwavering commitment of the United States to the alliance and to the defence of the Republic of Korea (South Korea)," he said at the start of the annual Security Consultative Meeting.

"The United States will continue to provide extended deterrence, using the full range of military capabilities -- including the nuclear umbrella -- to ensure ROK security."

The US stations 28,500 troops to bolster South Korea's 655,000-strong armed forces against the North's 1.2 million-member military. It also guarantees a "nuclear umbrella" over its long-time ally in case of atomic attack.

South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young said the North's policy had not changed despite recent diplomatic overtures.

Although "there are signs of some change from North Korea, including its recent willingness to talk, in reality the unstable situation such as the nuclear programme and a military-first policy continues unchanged," Kim said.

In a toughly worded statement Gates and Kim said the missile and nuclear tests in April and May, along with recent short-range missile tests, clearly violate United Nations Security Council resolutions.......

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