‘Plan B’ ready in case of nuclear test during Biden’s visit to Asia — Analysis
The US and South Korea have prepared for an “imminent” North Korea “provocation”
Seoul and Washington have a “plan B” in case the DPRK chooses to conduct a nuclear test during US President Joe Biden’s three-day visit to South Korea, the first deputy chief of the South Korean presidential National Security Office, Kim Tae-hyo, said at a press briefing on Wednesday.
Speaking about the agenda of Biden’s visit, which is due to start on Friday, Kim said that his country believed the likelihood of North Korea carrying out a nuclear test over the next few days was “Low.” However, as North Korea’s preparations for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch were “Assumed imminent,” both South Korea and the United States should be prepared for this type of “provocation,” whether it was “Big or small,” Kim argued.
Therefore, “a plan B” has been set up “Thus, the South Korean and American leaders would be able to immediately join the Command-and-Control system of the joint defense posture.,” he said.
Earlier this month, the White House did not rule out the possibility of Pyongyang conducting a nuclear test – the first one since September 2017 – to coincide with President Biden’s Asia trip. According to Reuters (citing unnamed US officials), North Korea could conduct an ICBM-test as soon as Thursday, or even Friday, according to Reuters.
During his visit to South Korea, Biden is scheduled to conduct one-on-one talks with South Korea’s newly-elected president, Yoon Suk-yeol, and to attend meetings on economic and national security. He is also expected to visit Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor plant in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Seoul.
“The visit of President Biden to Korea is an opportunity for the Korea-US Alliance to be strengthened into a strategic alliance.” Kim said.
Meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not planned.
“President Yoon and President Biden’s position is that the door is open for dialogue at any time, but they will not respond to a meeting for the purpose of meeting,” Kim said.
Yoon has pledged to adopt a harder stance against DPRK’s “Provocation.”
While Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, repeatedly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in an effort to convince Pyongyang to denuclearize, Biden has chosen to revive the policy of previous presidents, demanding a total shutdown of the country’s nuclear program before even considering the loosening of sanctions.
Last month, the DPRK warned that it would take decisive action to “crush” any “(hostile)” foreign power “At the highest speed possible” It also pledged to continue its nuclear program in order to protect itself in case of an attack or, if needed, to use such weapons “Do it now.”
Pyongyang’s 16 rocket launches this year have included an ICBM launched in March. But, Pyongyang has not carried out any nuclear tests since September 2017.