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October 24, 2012

Officials Say US Still Wary of North Korea

by VOA News

The United States and South Korea say North Korea remains a "serious threat" despite its failure to make good on recent threats to launch a military strike.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday Washington is concerned about Pyongyang's provocative behavior, including the likelihood North Korea may proceed with more tests of ballistic missiles.

"Make no mistake, we will provide the forces and the military capabilities needed to help maintain security on the Korean peninsula," said Panetta.

Pyongyang had warned it would respond militarily if activists in South Korea tried sending leaflets across the border but took no action after activists evaded South Korean authorities Monday and went ahead with their balloon-launch.

Panetta was joined at the briefing by South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin.  Kim said despite reports that new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is moving forward with reforms, he expects little to change.

"Kim Jong Un will continue to hold onto the military first policy that was his father's policy.  He is still young, meaning that he may be much more aggressive," said Kim.

Panetta and Kim also said their two countries would also continue to pursue strategies to guard against attacks in cyberspace.