According to a report by Washington Examiner on Nov 3rd, after North Korea carried out consecutive missile launches, South Korean National Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup paid a visit to the Pentagon and met with his American counterpart Lloyd Austin. Lee said North Korea has been ready to conduct nuclear tests but the specific time hasn’t been identified.
Earlier this week, John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said North Korea’s first nuclear test in the past five years could come at any time. The two defense ministers issued a joint communique after the meeting and strongly condemned North Korea’s escalating actions in violation of UN Security Council resolution, including ballistic missile tests, rocket launches and coastal artillery fire, calling on the international community to hold North Korea accountable for its reckless actions. The two leaders also expressed concerns about North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, as well as its provocative rhetoric such as the use of tactic nuclear weapons.
The communique reads, “Secretary Austin reiterated the firm U.S. commitment to providing extended deterrence to the ROK utilizing the full range of U.S. defense capabilities, including nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities and advanced non-nuclear capabilities. He noted that any nuclear strike against the United States or its allies and partners, including the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons, is unacceptable and will result in the end of the Kim regime.”