On the eve of the departure of the American president for a long-awaited diplomatic tour in the region, “we are ready for all eventualities, including such a provocation while we are in South Korea or Japan”, said Jake Sullivan , White House national security adviser.
“We are coordinating closely with our allies in South Korea and Japan,” he added, indicating that he also mentioned this risk during an interview on Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.
“We are obviously ready to adjust, if necessary, our military posture to ensure that we provide defense and deterrence for our allies in the region,” assured Joe Biden’s adviser.
Under international sanctions, North Korea has dramatically stepped up missile testing this year, while ignoring US negotiating proposals.
The regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had ceased firing intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear tests since 2017. He has already partly broken this moratorium by firing an intercontinental missile at the end of March.
Pyongyang had tested nuclear weapons six times between 2006 and 2017.
It is therefore under this threat that Joe Biden will begin his first trip to Asia on Thursday since he became president, he who had promised to make this continent the main strategic priority of his mandate.
But the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has, in fact, monopolized its administration for a few weeks.
– Nuclear and Covid –
“There is no tension between giving time, energy and attention to Europe, and giving time, energy and attention to Asia. We believe that these two aspects are mutually reinforcing”, assured Jake Sullivan.
The 79-year-old democrat, for whom the confrontation of the United States with China will be the great geopolitical reading grid of the years to come, will go to South Korea, then to Japan.
He will meet the leaders of the two countries there and will take advantage of his trip to participate in a meeting of the Quad in Tokyo, this diplomatic format which he is keen to relaunch and which brings together the United States, Japan, India and the United States. ‘Australia.
But the American president will not go to the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, assured his spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre.
The last visit of an American president to this place remains engraved in all memories: Donald Trump went there in 2019 and met Kim Jong Un there.
But the outpourings between the two men did not have a long-term impact on relations between the United States and North Korea.
The North Korean leader has always used nuclear weapons to influence the international scene.
The temptation could be great for him to carry out a demonstration of North Korean nuclear capabilities, as he faces a worsening coronavirus epidemic, the number of cases now exceeding 1.7 million according to the official press.