Hagel Talks about N. Korea Threat


The nation's secretary of defense says the U.S. and its allies will not take any chances when it comes to North Korea's threats of war.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel talked with Newscenter 11 about the posturing by the young leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.

The U.S. military has moved the USS Fitzgerald, a Navy ship capable of intercepting missiles, to waters off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. But an official says the movement is part of the Navy's general movements. The Navy had the same type of ship in this location as recently as December.

"We, the United States, are firmly committed to our allies in that region, particularly South Korea," said Hagel. "And we have joint military exercises which we have been running for many, many years. What we did with the B-2 is part of that exercise. But we take seriously, the rhetoric coming out of North Korea."

Hagel said North Korea has some choices.

"They can move in a different direction toward a responsible pathway to peace, but we can't minimize threats. We are prepared. Our allies should know, and be reassured, that we're committed to our allies in that area, and especially here on the mainland in our country."

Hagel said the U.S. has tremendous partners.

"They're very steady, and they're very careful. And that's what's required at this time," he said. "Very steady, very wise, careful actions and leadership. We don't want any kind of combustible event to ignite some bigger issue over there."

Hagel was back at the Pentagon Monday, hosting Singapore's prime minister.


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