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US focused on threats posed by N. Korea rather than peace treaty: Kritenbrink

By Yonhap

Published : July 19, 2023 - 09:19

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Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink during a hearing in Washington on Tuesday (Yonhap) Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink during a hearing in Washington on Tuesday (Yonhap)

The United States is currently focused on dealing with the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs instead of formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War with a peace treaty, a senior state department official said Tuesday.

Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, also insisted that the U.S. should focus on demonstrating its strong commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan rather than signing a peace treaty with Pyongyang.

"I think, candidly speaking, rather than focusing on a peace treaty, I think we would rather focus on the immediate problem," he said when asked if the incumbent administration would sign a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War during a hearing before the House foreign affairs subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific.

The Korean War ended with an armistice treaty, technically leaving South and North Korea at war to date.

"So we have stated what our long-term aspirations might be. But the immediate threat is the growing threat from North Korea's missile and nuclear programs and unprecedented number of (missile) launches," added Kritenbrink.

North Korea test-fired a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile last week, marking its 12th ICBM launch since the start of last year. The country also fired 69 ballistic missiles in 2022, marking a new annual record for ballistic missile launches.

"I think our focus right now is twofold: (It) is demonstrating the strength of our deterrent capabilities, the strength of our security treaty commitments to our Korean and Japanese allies and our resolve to make sure we strictly implement" those commitments, said Kritenbrink. (Yonhap)