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No sign of change in North Korean military posture: US

| Updated on: Apr 02, 2013

The White House said yesterday that it sees no change in North Korea’s military posture to back up its threats of actions against the United States and South Korea, but the US military was nevertheless taking steps to be prepared.

“Despite the harsh rhetoric we’re hearing from Pyongyang, we are not seeing changes to the North Korean military posture such as large-scale mobilizations and positioning of forces,” spokesman Jay Carney said.

He said the US took North Korean threats “seriously” and was “monitoring the Korean situation very diligently.” He described US actions, including flights by F-22, B-2 and B-52 aircraft, as “prudent” and said they were intended to reassure US allies.

An additional naval guided-missile destroyer was being moved nearby, NBC News reported, citing a Pentagon official. CNN reported a sea-based radar was also being located in the region.

A Pentagon official was not immediately available for comment.

The Washington Post reported that North Korean secrecy around its February nuclear test had raised suspicions that Pyonygang could be capable using highly enriched uranium in its bombs.

The newspaper cited unnamed US officials and weapons experts as saying the blast released few radioactive traces, which could indicate North Korea was trying to hide evidence of advances in its weapons development.

South Korea ready to respond

South Korea’s president told the military on Monday to respond powerfully to North Korean provocations, amid heightened tensions on the peninsula, reports said.

Park Guen Hye said she took recent threats from North Korea “very seriously,” Yonhap News Agency reported.

Pyongyang last month declared invalid the 1953 non-aggression treaty, cut two military hotlines, and announced at the weekend that it considered itself in a state of war with the South.

“If any provocations happen against our people and our country, [the military] should respond powerfully in the early stage without having any political considerations,” Park was quoted as saying.

“I will trust the military’s judgement on abrupt and surprise provocations by North Korea,” she said. “Please carry out your duty of guarding the safety of the people without getting distracted even a bit.” The United States on Sunday sent F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea for joint military exercises, US defence officials said.

The move came three days after two nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers dropped dummy bombs onto a South Korean training ground near the North Korean border.

Pyongyang on Sunday said its own nuclear weapons were a national “treasure,” and “neither a political bargaining chip nor a thing for economic deals,” the central committee of the ruling Worker’s Party was quoted as saying by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The North Korean leadership also announced plans to build an “independent atomic energy industry” as well as a light-water reactor to boost electricity generation.

Relations on the peninsula have deteriorated since North Korea’s third nuclear test on February 12, which led to a strengthening of international sanctions.

Pyongyang has since issued numerous threats, including possible pre-emptive nuclear attacks.

North Korea also sharply criticised the joint military drills by the US and South Korea in March, accusing them of rehearsing for an invasion.

Published on March 12, 2018

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