U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday said North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs pose a global threat, after Pyongyang’s unveiling of previously unseen intercontinental ballistic missiles at a predawn military parade.
The appearance of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during a weekend parade in North Korea captivated many Western analysts. But officials in South Korea were far more concerned by the display of new multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and fast, maneuverable short-range missiles that would be ideal for striking targets in the South.
Speaking before the start of a meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook at the Pentagon, Esper said: “We agree that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs remain a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and the world.”
“The United States remains committed to the security of the Republic of Korea,” Esper said.
He added, however, that South Korea and the United States must find a more equitable way of sharing defense costs so it “doesn’t fall unequally on the American taxpayers.”