|US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visits the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on December 30, 2023. (Photo:Yonhap)
Austin issued the warning in an exclusive contribution piece to Yonhap News Agency, as he plans to hold talks with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup in Seoul later in the day to discuss deterrence against evolving North Korean nuclear and missile threats.
Austin stressed a range of the allies' security efforts, such as expanding the scope and scale of their combined exercises and incorporating "live-fire" elements.
He also underlined the importance of deepening tripartite cooperation with Japan, including conducting trilateral ballistic missile defense and anti-submarine warfare exercises.
Austin made clear the allies' commitment to do even more, including increasingly complex scenario-based tabletop exercises focused on nuclear threats on the peninsula and visits to strategic sites housing advanced US capabilities.