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Carter Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Security on Korean Peninsula

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2016 — The United States remains concerned about North Korean provocations, and is committed to defending its allies with the "full spectrum of American military might," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today in a news conference with his South Korean counterpart, Han Min-koo.

VIDEO | 00:54 | Carter Discusses U.S.-South Korea Alliance

Carter hosted the senior South Korean official at the Pentagon for the 48th U.S.-Republic of Korea Security Consultative Meeting. Discussions included further strengthening and expanding bilateral ties and ensuring deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, Carter said.

Carter hailed the strong U.S.-South Korean relationship that spans more than six decades and is built on common values, shared interests and mutual trust.

The discussions at the Pentagon, the secretary said, will help ensure the alliance remains the "linchpin of regional security and stability."

North Korean Actions Threaten Regional Stability

North Korea's nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, including a failed one last night, threaten the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the broader region, Carter said.

"As with previous tests, we strongly condemn last night’s attempt, which even in failing violated several U.N. Security Council resolutions," he said.

The latest provocation, he added, only strengthens the resolve of the U.S. to work with South Korea to maintain stability on the peninsula. "Indeed, the United States remains committed to defending our allies against any threat with the full spectrum of American military might," he said. 

VIDEO | 01:27 | Carter, South Korean Defense Minister Hold Press Briefing

U.S. Prepared to Deliver 'Overwhelming and Effective Response'

In response to the threat from North Korea, the United States is adapting its force posture on the Korean Peninsula, Carter said.

That includes, he explained, the agreement for the U.S. to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile battery to U.S. Forces Korea.

Carter noted the United States and South Korea agreed yesterday in talks at the State Department to establish the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group to work closely on policy issues related to extended deterrence.

"Make no mistake, any attack on America or our allies will not only be defeated, but any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an overwhelming and effective response," he said.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)