KOREA NEWS (2nd LD) S. Korean official notes possibility of N....

(2nd LD) S. Korean official notes possibility of N. Korea launching ICBM this month


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(ATTN: ADDS more details in 6th para)
By Song Sang-ho

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) — A South Korean presidential security official on Thursday raised the possibility of North Korea launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) this month as he arrived in Washington for a high-profile security meeting.

Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo made the remarks upon arrival here on the eve of the second meeting of the Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG), a South Korea-U.S. security meeting designed to discuss nuclear and strategic planning issues.

“I think there is a possibility of North Korea launching an ICBM this December,” he told reporters at Dulles International Airport near Washington.

He did not elaborate on what intelligence led him to believe so.

Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo speaks to the press upon arrival at Dulles International Airport near Washington on Dec. 14, 2023. (Yonhap)

Asked whether the North’s spy satellite launch last month will be part of discussions at the NCG session, Kim said that a ballistic missile using ICBM technology is a subject of “extended deterrence” discussions between Seoul and Washington.

South Korea and the U.S. view the North’s satellite launch as having utilized ICBM technology in violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. Extended deterrence refers to the U.S.’ commitment to using the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, to defend its ally.

“Whether that ballistic missile is long or short, if a nuclear (weapon) is loaded onto it, it becomes a nuclear threat and a nuclear attack against us,” he said.

“That said, it is extended deterrence that we explore (ways) to forestall a North Korean nuclear attack in advance, and firmly face down a nuclear attack immediately at an early stage in the event of a North Korean miscalculation,” he added.

The NCG was established under the Washington Declaration that President Yoon Suk Yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden adopted during their summit in Washington in April as part of efforts to enhance the credibility of extended deterrence.

The inaugural session was held in Seoul in July, led by Kim and U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and NSC Coordinator for Defense Policy and Arms Control Cara Abercrombie.



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