US ready to tackle any threat from N Korea: Hagel

Last Updated: Friday, March 29, 2013 - 12:30

Washington: Continuing its campaign against military advances of North Korea, the US has said the threat perception from Pyongyang has increased, but the Pentagon is taking every step to deal with any worst-case scenario.

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, however, noted there is no need not of any immediate action more than the recently announced missile defence system by US in wake of the military advances by the North ever since the change of regime.
PTI

"We don`t have any choice in defending this country but to anticipate worst-case scenarios. We do know the North Koreans have missile capability (and) they have significant capability, and as we think through long-term threats, we have (to) ensure (not only) for short term but also for long term," Hagel said at a news conference.

A day earlier, Hagel spoke to his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan Jin to review security situation.

"This relationship between the US and South Korea is particularly important, at a particularly important time," he said.

Defending the decision to fly B-2 over South Korean skyline as part of a joint exercise, Hagel refuted reports that this was a provocative action on the part of the US.

"The US and South Korea, have not been involved in provocating anything. We, over the years, have been engaged with South Korea on joint exercises. The B-2 flight was part of that," he said in response to a question.
Arguing that the US, South Korea and all powers in that region are committed to a pathway to peace, he alleged the North Koreans seem to be headed in a different direction here.

"So we will unequivocally defend and we are unequivocally committed to the alliance with South Korea as well as our other allies in that region of the world, and we will be prepared to deal with any eventuality there," Hagel said.

Even though some of the statements coming from North Korea are rhetoric and provocative in nature, Hagel said these have to be taken seriously.
"We`ve seen some historical trajectory here on where North Korea occasionally will go to try to get the attention of the US, to try to maneuver us into some positions favorably to them, whether it`s more assistance or bilateral engagement," he said.

North Korea, he said, has to understand that what they`re doing is very dangerous, and they have some options.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 - 12:30

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