News / Asia

US Defense Official Sees North Korean Threats Backfiring

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answers reporter's question during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2013. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answers reporter's question during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2013.
x
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answers reporter's question during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2013.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answers reporter's question during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2013.
A top U.S. defense official is visiting South Korea, where he says North Korea's recent provocations are only further isolating Pyongyang from the rest of the world.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests, as well as recent threats to launch a nuclear strike and attack frontier islands in the South, are not going to soften attitudes abroad towards the reclusive and impoverished country.

"If the North Koreans think this kind of thing is going to get them anywhere, they're mistaken. The only effect it's having is to bring upon North Korea the opprobrium [reproach] of the entire world," Carter said.

In response, he added, the United States military is continuing to integrate operations with South Korean forces and adding ground-based interceptors to U.S. missile defenses in Alaska.

China on Monday cautioned the United States to act prudently on boosting its anti-missile system. A spokesman for the foreign ministry in Beijing, Hong Lei, told reporters such plans, in response to North Korea's provocation, “will intensify antagonism and will not be beneficial to finding a solution for the problem.” The spokesman said the situation is best addressed through diplomatic means.

VOA asked Carter if South Korean government and defense officials he met Monday are alarmed by the recent North Korean rhetoric or do they view it as similar to Pyongyang’s more typical bellicose rhetoric?

"I found that my colleagues in the South Korean government shared our assessment," Carter said. "After all we have a common foundation of intelligence about North Korea and so we see things the same way."

Joint military drills are underway on the peninsula (Foal Eagle and Key Resolve) involving thousands of members of forces from both the United States and South Korea.

Carter also underscored that all resources under America's nuclear umbrella will continue to be available to South Korea.  He says an example of this will be a Tuesday “training flight” of a B-52 bomber near the peninsula.

It is unusual for such flights to be announced in advance or specifically referenced by a high-ranking official. Carter did not say whether the bomber would be armed.

After the deputy defense secretary's announcement, a U.S. military spokesman said the flight will likely originate at Anderson Air Force Base on the Pacific island of Guam.

Pentagon officials earlier confirmed that a B-52 Stratofortress also performed a "routine continuous bomber presence mission" on March 8th near the Korean peninsula.

Carter is reassuring allies in the region that the automatic U.S. government budget cuts which kicked in March 1 (known as sequestration) will not affect operations of the U.S. military in the Asia-Pacific region.

The defense official's visit to South Korea was the second stop on a trip to Asia that includes Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Trade Talks Could Heat Up in 2015

With boosting trade a top priority for the Obama administration, 2015 may be the year that an agreement is finally reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership. But the trade deal, which is intended to boost trade between 12 Pacific countries, faces opposition as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school

All About America

AppleAndroid