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Feb 15, 2023 | In The News

The United States needs to better demonstrate to South Korea its commitment to helping defend its ally against any attack, a U.S. lawmaker said.

Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) also stressed the need for the U.S. to demonstrate its resolve to use all means necessary to defend its allies, so that their enemies will think twice before making provocations.

“As the U.S. continues to modernize its weapons in accordance with international laws, it must also tell its allies that we have the capabilities to help defend them and that we can be there for our allies when they are attacked,” Kim said in a recent telephone interview with Yonhap News Agency, adding, “That is what has successfully deterred nuclear attacks against the U.S. and its allies over the past 75 years.”

“Still, the U.S. must continue to advance its weapons under international regulations and also continue to reassure our allies in the Pacific that the U.S. is ready to help defend its allies against North Korean provocations,” she added.

Some in South Korea have voiced a need for Seoul to consider developing its own nuclear weapons against North Korea’s evolving nuclear threats, apparently casting doubt over the credibility of U.S. commitment to helping defend South Korea under U.S. extended deterrence.

Extended deterrence refers to U.S. commitment to use all available capabilities, including nuclear weapons, when necessary to defend its ally.

Pyongyang conducted an unprecedented 69 ballistic missile tests last year, marking a new record number of ballistic missiles fired in a single year. Its previous record was at 25.

“The U.S. must show leadership that our allies can depend on us and believe that we will be there for them when they face any problem,” said Kim, who currently serves as chair of the House Foreign Relation Committee Subcommittee on Indo-Pacific.

Kim also stressed the need to demonstrate U.S. commitment to defending its allies to adversaries, saying, “We need to make sure that allies can trust us, so adversaries can fear us.”

The U.S. lawmakers also underscored the need to hold North Korea accountable for its recent missile provocations.

“I believe the U.S. needs to take a stronger stance against North Korean threats. As I said, North Korea is firing more ballistic missiles than ever before. Therefore, unless we take this North Korea issue seriously and intensify sanctions, there can be more serious challenges to the nuclear security in the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

To this end, Kim stressed the need for the U.S. government to appoint a special envoy to work solely on North Korea issues.

Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, is concurrently serving as U.S. special envoy for North Korea.

“Because the North Korea issue is very important, I believe one person wearing two hats cannot effectively address the issue,” said Kim. “I do give credit to Sung Kim and his abilities but believe we need a separate special envoy who can work solely on North Korea issues while he (Sung Kim) focuses on his work as ambassador to Indonesia.” (Yonhap)


The Korea Times

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