Seoul, Apr 7 (EFE).- South Korea’s president-elect, Yoon Suk-yeol, on Thursday called for strengthening deterrence against the threats posed by North Korea’s missiles and nuclear weapons, during a visit to the main military base of the United States in the country.
Yoon “stated his determination to further increase the solidarity of the South Korea-US alliance and strengthen deterrence and the response posture against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” his spokesperson Bae Hyun-jin said after the leader’s visit to Camp Humphreys, situated around 70 kms south of Seoul.
“Strong deterrence through the Korea-US military alliance and combined defense posture cannot be emphasized enough in a grave international security situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula,” he added, as per the spokesperson.
Yoon’s statement comes amid growing tensions and a weapons race in the region, with Pyongyang carrying out a record 12 missile tests in recent months, including its first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) since 2017.
The president-elect has sent a delegation to Washington this week to discuss the possible deployment of US strategic arms in South Korea, a step that could trigger an aggressive response from the North.
Satellite images have suggested that the North Korean regime might be preparing to test a submarine-launched ballistic missile as well as detonating another atomic device for the first time in five years.
The South Korean minister of unification, Lee In-young, said in a meeting in Seoul on Thursday that the upcoming weeks could be crucial in setting the atmosphere of the Korean peninsula this year.
“April is a time laden with many factors that could lead to the escalation of inter-Korean military tensions, such as the South Korea-US joint military exercises and the 110th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung (the founder-president of North Korea),” Lee said in a meeting, according to local news agency Yonhap.
The joint military drills are expected to kick off around Apr. 18 and last 10 days.
Meanwhile satellites have for months captured images showing preparations for a massive parade in Pyongyang to celebrate the birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung – the grandfather of the current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – including the mobilization of heavy weapons. EFE