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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid