SEOUL, South Korea -- A senior U.S. military official visiting Seoul is sending a message to both Koreas: warning Pyongyang over recent threats and reassuring South Korea that military backing won't be hurt by a U.S. budget debate.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told reporters Monday that Pyongyang's threats would only deepen Washington's defense commitment to Seoul. He said that includes a "nuclear umbrella" security guarantee for Seoul, which doesn't have atomic weapons.

Ashton said deep U.S. budget cuts won't alter Pentagon efforts to make South Korean defense a priority.

Pyongyang is angry over U.S.-South Korean war games and U.N. sanctions meant to punish it for its third nuclear test. It has threatened nuclear attacks on Washington, though it isn't believed to have the weapons needed to do so.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • South Korean Marines take park in an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Friday, March 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)

  • A South Korean Marine aims his machine gun during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Friday, March 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)

  • South Korean Marines move during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Friday, March 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)

  • South Korean marines take a rest on their K-55 self-propelled howitzers during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, March 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

  • South Korean army soldiers prepare 155 mm howitzers during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Thursday, March 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

  • Members of the US Air Force aim their weapons from behind their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US Air Force soldiers aim their weapons from the top of their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • South Korean Army soldiers aim their weapons during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with the US, outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US Air Force and South Korean Army soldiers read maps for an operation to guard a US airbase as part of annual joint exercises outside the airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A US Air Force soldier (L) talks to South Korean Army soldiers during an operation to guard a US airbase as part of annual joint exercises outside the airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US Air Force soldiers aim their weapons behind their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • South Korean Army soldiers aim their weapons during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with the US, outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • South Korean Army soldiers get out from a military truck during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with the US, outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Members of the US Air Force aim their weapons from their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US Air Force soldiers aim their weapons from behind their vehicles during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • South Korean Marines take part in an exercise on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)

  • South Korean Marines walk by a K-55 self-propelled howitzer during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

  • A South Korean marine K-55 self-propelled howitzer fires during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

  • South Korean soldiers walk near their armored vehicles during an exercise near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

  • A South Korean K-9 self-propelled gun howitzer fires during an exercise near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Friday, March 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Shin Joon-hee)