By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, March 14 (Yonhap) -- Any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea will be the end of the reclusive regime in Pyongyang, a U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson said Tuesday, amid concerns of a nuclear test by the reclusive country.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder also reiterated that the U.S. remains committed to deterring aggression.
"I think we have been very clear that were North Korea to employ a nuclear weapon, it would be the end of the North Korean regime," the department press secretary told a daily press briefing.
The U.S. had warned of such a dire consequence of a nuclear attack by North Korea after Pyongyang enacted a new law that it said would allow preemptive use of its nuclear weapons in case of a contingency.
"Any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies and partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime," the defense department had said in its National Defense Strategy, released in October.
North Korea has since consistently intensified its nuclear rhetoric, with its leader Kim Jong-un calling for "exponential" growth of the country's nuclear arsenal earlier this year.
Seoul and Washington have also said the North may conduct a nuclear test "at any time," noting the country appears to have completed all preparations for a nuclear test.
The North conducted its sixth and last nuclear test in September 2017.
"But again, our focus continues to be on and working very closely with our allies and our partners in the region to deter aggression, to preserve security and stability in the region. and that will continue to be our focus," said Ryder.