SEOUL, South Korea — Senior defense officials from South Korea, the United States and other nations on Tuesday warned North Korea over its nuclear ambitions and threats, vowing an unspecified collective response to any war-like aggression by the North toward its rival.
Their joint statement came after a meeting in Seoul involving U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik and officials from 16 other countries under the U.S.-led United Nations Command, which provided combat or medical forces in support of the South during the 1950-53 Korean War.
The meeting came a day after Austin and Shin held annual defense talks where the allies updated a bilateral security agreement with the aim of more effectively countering North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.
In the statement, the defense ministers and other representatives of the U.N. Command's member states strongly condemned North Korea's “unlawful” nuclear and ballistic missile programs which violate multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and called for Pyongyang to recommit to diplomacy aimed at defusing the nuclear standoff.
The U.N. Command's member states also declared “they will be united upon any renewal of hostilities or armed attack on the Korean Peninsula challenging the principles of the United Nations and the security of (South Korea).”
Shin during a speech at the meeting said the North would…