‘US backs Seoul‘s self-defense measures against Pyongyang‘
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) said Monday that it is reviewing "all options" to counter future North Korean provocation.
It said the U.S. is keeping close tabs on a possible nuclear test and attacks on South Korea.
"The U.S. and South Korea agree on the need to respond appropriately to provocation from the North," the Hawaii-based command said in response to an inquiry by Yonhap News Agency.
"The U.S. remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security of our allies in the region and for any contingencies," it said.
It emphasized that Seoul has the "sovereign right to self-defense."
Following the North's deadly torpedo and artillery attacks in 2010, South Korea's conservative government warned that it would not hesitate to strike back at the North in case of further provocations.
"It is not appropriate to comment on how we would pursue any further military operations, but we can say that, as an alliance, we continually examine all options," PACOM said.
"The DPRK needs to understand it will achieve nothing by threats or by provocations, and will only undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia," it said, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's formal name.
The 325,000-strong command is tasked with U.S. military operations in the region, including the Korean Peninsula. It has become more vital as U.S. defense strategy makes a "pivot" toward Asia.
In his recent trp to Seoul, Adm. Samuel Locklear, who leads U.S. Pacific forces, was asked about the possibility of a surgical strike. He said the U.S. is reviewing all options.
PACOM would not be drawn into a question on press reports that the secretive communist nation might be preparing for another underground nuclear test.
"We will not discuss intelligence matters... but we urge the DPRK to refrain from provocative actions and to abide by international obligations and commitments," it said.