U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had some strong words for North Korea Tuesday in the wake of escalating tensions along what is considered the world’s most dangerous border.
"We need to make sure that North Koreans always understand that any provocation with them will be dealt with, and they stand no chance of defeating us and our allies in South Korea," Carter told troops in a televised question and answer session with U.S. troops around the world.
The most recent spat between the two Koreas stemmed from a landmine blast that injured two South Korean service members. Seoul responded to the incident by blasting propaganda over large speakers along the border.
Pyongyang denied any involvement in the blast and began to mobilize troops, demanding that Seoul stop the broadcasts.
The situation along the 38th parallel has cooled off in recent days under a deal reached Monday that stopped the South Korean broadcasts.
Ash Carter referred to events as a “dust-up” but made clear that tensions could escalate quickly.
"Korea is one of these places that is a tinderbox," he said. "It's probably the single place in the world where war could erupt at the snap of our fingers."
South Korea is home to roughly 30,000 U.S. troops.