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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid