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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

American Forces Press Service

U.S. Remains Watchful After North Korean Missile Launches

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2013 – The United States continues to call on North Korean leaders to exercise restraint and abide by their international obligations, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

North Korea fired five short-range missiles in the past three days, and reporters asked Little if this is a North Korean return to the provocative behavior earlier this year.

"We have noticed broadly that North Korea has ratcheted back its provocative actions in recent weeks, and its bellicose rhetoric," Little said. "We hope that that is a trend they hope to follow."

The missile launches "could be construed" as provocative, Little said, although "these short-range missile launches do not necessarily violate their international obligations."

Still, the past few months have been bumpy. North Korean leaders conducted an underground nuclear test, fired a ballistic missile and threatened South Korea and the United States with nuclear destruction.

The North Korean rhetoric became a bit less inflammatory this month, but a period of tensions remains, albeit on a smaller scale than before, Little said.

"But anything that can be construed to be provocative continues to concern us," he added, "and the North Koreans have been known to shift tactics and behavior on short notice. And we're mindful of their behavior in the past."

The United States and its allies remain watchful and will continue to monitor what happens on the Korean Peninsula, Little told reporters.

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