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Military training important to protecting U.S. interest on Korean Peninsula: Pentagon

Diplomacy 05:10 April 08, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, April 7 (Yonhap) -- Defense readiness is especially crucial on the Korean Peninsula, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday, highlighting the importance of military exercises there.

John Kirby said the U.S. goal remains the denuclearization of North Korea.

"Training is important on the peninsula. We have to make sure that the alliance is sound and solid and ready to, obviously, defend our interests and the interests of our Korean allies on any given day," he said at a press briefing.

The captured image from the website of the U.S. Defense Department shows spokesman John Kirby at a daily press briefing at the Pentagon on April 7, 2021. (Yonhap)

South Korea and the United States recently concluded a joint military exercise that was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reduction in scale, however, also came amid renewed objections from North Korea, which calls the joint military drills rehearsals for war.

Seoul and Washington maintain their joint exercises are strictly defensive in nature.

Meanwhile, North Korea has fired at least four short-range missiles, presumably including two ballistic missiles, last month alone.

Kirby said the U.S. is still analyzing what appeared to be short-range ballistic missile launches.

"I won't get into intelligence assessments of what the DPRK is pursuing, and we have not finished our analysis and assessment of the March 25 launches," he said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The March 25 launches came after a year-long hiatus in short-range ballistic missile tests by the North.

Pyongyang continues to maintain a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests since November 2017.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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