South Korea and U.S. condemn North Korea’s provocations, vow firm response

South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin jointly condemned North Korea’s recent provocations, emphasizing heightened tensions in the region.

In a joint condemnation, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denounced North Korea’s recent provocations, including the launch of trash-carrying balloons and a military spy satellite. The defence chiefs, meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, emphasised the heightened tensions caused by North Korea’s actions on the Korean Peninsula and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

According to statements from the defence ministry, Shin and Austin pledged a resolute response to North Korea’s provocations and its continued missile and nuclear development, particularly in light of its deepening military collaboration with Russia.

Shin reiterated that North Korea’s launching of trash-carrying balloons constitutes a serious violation of the Armistice Agreement and expressed support for the ongoing investigation by the U.N. Command into the matter.

During their discussions, the defence chiefs reaffirmed their commitment to deter North Korean threats and enhance the U.S.’s extended deterrence capabilities through bilateral consultative mechanisms, including the Nuclear Consultative Group.

Before the South Korea-U.S. meeting, Shin engaged in a trilateral discussion with his Japanese counterpart, Minoru Kihara, and Australian counterpart, Richard Marles, marking the first meeting between the three nations. The focus of their talks centred on strategies to counter North Korean threats and promote regional peace and stability.

These discussions unfolded against the backdrop of North Korea’s recent provocations, which included the release of approximately 900 balloons carrying manure and trash across the border and GPS jamming attacks near South Korea’s northwestern border islands. Additionally, North Korea conducted a drill involving the firing of artillery from super-large multiple rocket launchers toward the East Sea, underscoring its determination to assert its military capabilities.

The concerted condemnation and vow of a firm response from South Korea and the United States signal a unified stance against North Korea’s destabilizing actions and highlight ongoing efforts to maintain regional security.