The recent rhetoric and actions taken by Pyongyang in past few weeks present a real danger not only to Japan and S Korea but also to the American interests in the region,US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said.
“Some of the actions they’ve taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger and threat to the interests,certainly of our allies,starting with South Korea and Japan,and also the threats that the North Koreans have leveled directly at the US regarding our base in Guam,threatened Hawaii,threatened the West Coast of the US,” Hagel said yesterday at the National Defence University.
“As Secretary of Defence and I think beginning with the President of the United States,and all of our leaders,we take those threats seriously. We have to take those threats seriously. I think we have had measured,responsible,serious responses to those threats,” he said.
Hagel said the US is working with China to diffuse the ongoing situation while the country is holding joint exercises with the South Koreans now.
“We are doing everything we can,working with the Chinese,others to defuse that situation on the Peninsula. But,as I said in a news conference,last week when asked about this,it only takes being wrong once. And I don’t want to be the secretary of defence who was wrong once,” Hagel said.
As such the US will continue to take these threats seriously,he added. “I hope the North will ratchet this very dangerous rhetoric down. There is a pathway that’s responsible for the North to get on a path to peace,working with their neighbors,” he said.
“There are many,many benefits to their people that could come. But they’ve got to be a responsible member of the world community. And you don’t achieve that responsibility and peace and prosperity by making nuclear threats and taking very
provocative actions,” Hagel said.
He also said China does not want the increasing tension in the Korean peninsula to worsen any further. “North Korea is a very good example of a common interest.
Certainly,the Chinese don’t want a right now complicated,combustible situation to explode into a worse situation. It’s not in their interests for that to happen,certainly not in our interests or our allies’ interests,” Hagel said.