The United States warned Wednesday that any attack on American allies or use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an “overwhelming” U.S. response as it sought to reassure close ally South Korea that the U.S. has its back. The statement by Defense Secretary Ash Carter came as top U.S. and South Korean diplomats and military officials met, weeks after North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test explosion to date,

and days after its failed test launch of a ballistic missile — one of more than 20 such tests this year alone. The flurry of activity has deepened concern over the North’s progress toward having a nuclear warhead it can mount on a long-range missile. The two sides discussed steps to strengthen the so-called “extended deterrence” provided by U.S. nuclear forces in defending South Korea and agreed to begin a high-level dialogue about it. READ MORE