(ATTN: UPDATES with details, government statement; CHANGES photo)
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol instructed the National Security Council on Friday to implement strengthened extended deterrence measures following North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier in the day, his office said.
Yoon gave the instructions shortly after North Korea fired its second ICBM in two weeks in apparent protest of the United States' renewed pledge to use all means, including nuclear, to defend its allies South Korea and Japan from North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.
"President Yoon ordered a strengthening of the South Korea-U.S. combined defense posture, active implementation of measures to strengthen the executability of the extended deterrence against North Korea agreed between South Korea and the U.S., and a strengthening of security cooperation between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan," the presidential office said.
"Also, he ordered action for strong condemnation and sanctions against the North, including a U.N. Security Council response, together with the United States and the international community," it said.
Yoon made the remarks while briefly attending an NSC meeting presided over by National Security Adviser Kim Sung-han on his way to a joint press briefing with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez following their summit talks at the presidential office.
The South Korean government issued a separate statement condemning the ICBM launch as a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a "grave provocation" raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.
"Our government has the overwhelming response capability and will to immediately punish any provocation by North Korea, and North Korea must not miscalculate," the statement read.
North Korea's weapons tests have increased in frequency and intensity in recent weeks, as the regime appears set to conduct what would be its seventh nuclear test.
During a trilateral summit in Cambodia on Sunday, Yoon, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to work together to strengthen deterrence.
Biden also said the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea and Japan is ironclad, and backed by the full range of capabilities, including nuclear.
The joint statement drew an angry response from North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, who warned Thursday of "fiercer" military action "in direct proportion to" the three countries' moves.
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