Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby also highlighted the importance of the South Korea-US joint training exercise on Friday, Yonhap news agency reported.
Asked whether the US-South Korea joint military exercise to be held later this month is meant to send a strong signal to the North, the spokesperson said, “All of our training programs are meant to improve our preparedness.”
“It’s not about sending the message. It’s about preparation, and that’s our commitment on the peninsula. He ‘
The remarks came after South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it would discuss with the US the possible deployment of US strategic assets to South Korea amid repeated missile launches by North Korea.
Pyongyang has staged 12 rounds of missile tests this year, including seven in January alone, the largest number of missile launches in a month.
They also come after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, said that the North could use nuclear weapons if attacked by South Korea or the US.
“We are well aware of the North Korean people, their efforts to advance their nuclear ambitions, as well as advance their ballistic missile capabilities,” Kirby said.
“We do not need to hear threats and threatening comments from North Korean leaders to understand the real threat it represents for the Pyongyang Peninsula and the region. And so we’re continuing to adjust our currency as needed to accommodate our intelligence. Be in position as needed, and of course with our South Korean allies to accommodate our training and preparation,” he said.