U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has pledged that all the resources under America's nuclear umbrella will continue to be available to South Korea, amid threats from North Korea of "all-out war," backed by nuclear weapons.
After talks in Seoul Monday with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, Carter told reporters that Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests, as well as recent threats to launch preemptive nuclear strikes, are not going to soften attitudes towards the reclusive and impoverished country.
Carter said the only effect Pyongyang's threats would have is to turn world opinion against the North.
The U.S. defense official said Washington is continuing to integrate military operations with South Korean forces and adding ground-based interceptors to U.S. missile defenses in Alaska.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have escalated since the North conducted its third nuclear test last month.
After a new round of U.N. sanctions, Pyongyang responded with threats of war backed by nuclear weapons.
Carter is in Seoul as part of an Asian trip that also includes Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.