Spokesman: U.S. Urges North Korea to Tone Down Threats
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 12, 2013 U.S. and South Korean forces remain “postured for any contingency” on the Korean Peninsula, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today as he called on North Korea to tone down its rhetoric and comply with its international obligations.
Little condemned North Korea’s destabilizing activities the day after North Korea declared that it had nullified the 60-year-old armistice agreement there.
“North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric and threats follow a pattern designed to raise tensions and to intimidate others,” Little told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
“North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocation,” he added, saying they “will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to pursue peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”
Little reiterated President Barack Obama’s call for North Korea’s leadership to “choose the path to peace” and comply with its international obligations. The message from the U.S. government has been “clear and consistent for a very long time,” he said.
But Little acknowledged North Korea’s track record that shows an unwillingness to conform with the international community’s requirements -- through nuclear tests and most recently, a ratcheting up of threatening language.
“The fact of the matter is that their rhetoric is bellicose and the rhetoric is a bit too high,” Little said. “So let’s take this down a notch, I would say to them, and engage the right way.”
U.S. Forces Korea, and other U.S. troops from U.S. Pacific Command and about 10,000 South Korean forces are currently participating in the Key Resolve exercise that promotes their ability to work together to defend South Korea.
Little offered assurance that they are ready to fend off an attack, should one come.
“U.S. Forces Korea, working closely with our South Korean allies, remains postured for any contingency, and we stand ready to protect U.S. and South Korean interests,” he said.