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US will continue to counter N. Korean provocations, including space launch: PentagonBy Yonhap
Published : Aug. 23, 2023 - 09:15
WASHINGTON -- The United States will take all steps necessary to counter provocations by North Korea, a Pentagon spokesperson said Tuesday, amid reports that Pyongyang may be poised to launch a space rocket in the near future.
North Korea has notified Japan of its plan to fire a space launch vehicle between Thursday and Aug. 31, according to a report by Japan's Kyodo News.
"As always, we will stand with our Japanese and our ROK allies in the face of North Korea's continued provocations to include their claimed space program," Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told a daily press briefing, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.
"So we are going to take all necessary measures to ensure that the security of our homeland and the defense of our allies continues, and we will continue working closely with Japan and (the) ROK to promote peace, security and stability in the region," he added.
North Korea's planned launch comes after it unsuccessfully fired what it claimed to be its first military reconnaissance satellite in late May.
The US had strongly condemned the North's failed satellite launch, noting a space rocket uses the same technology used in ballistic missile, which Pyongyang is strictly prohibited from using or developing under multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.
North Korea has warned that a "large-scale thermonuclear war" was approaching the Korean Peninsula, criticizing an annual South Korea- US joint military exercise which began Monday.
"The provocative language coming out of North Korea is, of course, dangerous," the defense department spokesperson said when asked about the North Korean threat.
"We certainly would be willing to engage in dialogue with North Korea with no preconditions and so we will continue to maintain that stance, but to this point, they have not agreed to do that," added Ryder.
He said Seoul, Washington and Tokyo will also continue enhancing their military cooperation as a result of their leaders' historic trilateral summit held last week at Camp David.
"Our focus is on security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, ensuring that we can work together for our mutual defense, and so any exercises, any summits are predicated towards those efforts," Ryder told the press briefing, noting the leaders have committed to a "multi-year trilateral framework that include annual multi-domain trilateral exercises."
The Pentagon spokesperson reaffirmed that the three countries will activate their "real-time missile warning data" exchange system before the end of the year.
"All of these agreements underscore that our relationships with Japan and the ROK are stronger than ever," he said. "And it is why the department is looking forward to continue to work closely with our Japanese and ROK counterparts as we keep delivering results together." (Yonhap)
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