USFK focusing on fight readiness, not swayed by N. Korea’s rhetoric: official

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 27, 2017 - 15:36
  • Updated : Sept 27, 2017 - 15:36
American troops in South Korea won't be distracted by the war of words between Pyongyang and Washington, focusing on maintaining combat readiness, a US defense official said Wednesday.

"All of the talk by civilian political leaders does not change our mission... to provide the ROK (South Korea)-US alliance with solid military capability in case we are called upon," the US Forces Korea official said.

Military tensions here have escalated amid North Korea's threats and provocative acts and a tough US response. The U.S flew a squadron of B-1B strategic bombers and fighter jets close to the communist nation's east coast on the weekend.
This undated file photo shows USFK sholdiers. (Yonhap)

Nicknaming the North's leader Kim Jong-un Little Rocket Man, President Donald Trump also tweeted that the regime "won't be around much longer."

The North's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho Trump's message as a declaration of war, adding his country can legally shoot down US warplanes.

The USFK official gave no reply to a question about Ri's assertion, while the White House earlier dismissed it.

He just pointed out the USFK chief's repeated statement that "Our focus is to maintain military readiness - with our ROK partners - no matter what is being said in Pyongyang, Seoul, or Washington D.C."

He was guarded about whether the four additional THAAD interceptor rocket launchers deployed at a new base in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, early this month is operational.

"Given North Korea's potential for surveillance, we prefer to maintain operational security when it comes to discussing whether or not something is working," he said.

There's no official name of the base yet, with the USFK calling it just "THAAD site at Seongju," he added.

Typically, US military compounds in South Korea have their own names with such words "base" or "camp" attached. (Yonhap)