U.S. Speaks with One Voice on North Korean Nukes

Chris Green  |  2009-10-22 15:24
There should be no mistaking that we do not today, nor will we ever, accept a North Korea with nuclear weapons, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a gathering of U.S. forces yesterday.

Speaking at the Yongsan garrison in central Seoul, Gates spoke out about the peril posed by the North, calling it more dangerous than it has ever been despite deteriorating circumstances, and pointed out that, in his view, the character of the regime in Pyongyang has not changed at all.

"(North Korea)s missile development and nuclear program are increasingly dangerous and destabilizing, he said during a Q&A session after completing his speech, And that is why it is important for South Korea and the U.S. and the international community to work towards a solution. When it comes to proliferation, it seems everything they make they seem to want to sell."

Gates expressed the U.S. ongoing commitment to the defense of the South, saying, To be sure, the United States will maintain an enduring and capable military presence on the Korean Peninsula, but he did however call upon Seoul to invest more in its military capabilities in a way both appropriate to Koreas emerging role as a contributor to global security, and commensurate with the threat you face on the peninsula.

Meanwhile, in a joint communiqué issued after Gates meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae Young this morning, the U.S. commitment to provide extended deterrence for the ROK, using the full range of military capabilities, to include the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile capabilities was reaffirmed.

Echoing Gates Yongsan speech, the joint communiqué also made clear, "The ROK and the U.S. will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state.

Meanwhile, in her Dean Acheson lecture at the United States Institute of Peace yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed, stating that the United States will ever have normal, sanctions-free relations with a nuclear armed North Korea, and that, Current sanctions will not be relaxed until Pyongyang takes verifiable, irreversible steps toward complete denuclearization.
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