SEOUL – Top security advisers of South Korea and the United States agreed on Friday to discuss beforehand any steps that could be taken in light of the ongoing crisis with North Korea.
In a 40-minute long telephone conversation, Chung Eui-yong and H.R. McMaster discussed the “current security conditions surrounding the Korean Peninsula caused by North Korean provocations and heightened tension, and ways to deal with such threats,” according to a statement by South Korea’s presidential office.
“The two sides reaffirmed their promise to closely and transparently cooperate on the steps to be taken in each stage to help ensure the security and safety of both South Korea, the United States and their people,” the note added.
There has been an escalation of tension between North Korea and the US in the past week.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump had said that North Korea would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it did not stop threatening the US after the latest sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council in response to its missile launches.
The Pyongyang regime retaliated by releasing details of a hypothetical plan to attack American bases on the island of Guam, a US territory where Washington maintains an important naval base, following which the Pentagon re-dispatched two of its strategic B-1B bombers, stationed in Guam, to the outskirts of the Korean peninsula on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Trump said that if the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, orders an attack on Guam “things will happen to them like they never thought possible.”
Pyongyang’s continued missile tests, which in the last year have become increasingly frequent, have led to a toughening in the Trump administration’s rhetoric, which has hinted at the possibility of preemptive strikes against North Korea.
The possibility of such strikes has been a cause of concern for South Korea and Japan, where a response by Pyongyang could cost many lives.