U.S. focused on preserving peace on Korean Peninsula, region: Pentagon

WASHINGTON, The United States remains committed to preserving peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and will continue to work closely with South Korea to that end, a Pentagon spokesperson said Friday.

The remark comes after North Korea threatened to take “the toughest reaction” against joint military drills between South Korea and the U.S.

“It’s certainly not surprising, given North Korea’s track record of making bellicose statements,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said of the North Korean threat.

During their bilateral talks in Seoul earlier this week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his South Korean counterpart, Lee Jong-sup, agreed to expand the level and scope of their countries’ joint military exercises and strengthen their joint deterrence against North Korean provocations.

North Korea staged a record number of 69 ballistic missile tests last year.

Its foreign ministry, however, accused the U.S. of driving the security situation on the Korean Peninsula toward what it called an “extreme red-line” with joint military drills in a statement released Thursday (Korea time).

“Secretary Austin’s visit (to Seoul) was an opportunity to again reaffirm our strong and close alliance with the Republic of Korea and so that will remain,” Ryder said, referring to South Korea by its official name.

“Our focus is on working with South Korea and other nations in the region to deter aggression and ensure a free and open Indo Pacific,” he added.

Source: Yohnap News Agency

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