The United States has called on the new North Korean leadership to "change course; instead put their effort into moving their country into the modern world."
This was stated by US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland at a daily Press Briefing on Monday when her attention was brought to reports that the North Koreans have threatened South Korean government with military action.
She urged Pyongyang to "open up the system and give their people the right to live in dignity and with openness, well fed." And they're just putting their energy in the wrong place, she told reporters.
Nuland insisted that Washington's position "on this is not different than it's been before and after the satellite launch." She recalled Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's statement last week that the North "needs to understand that it's not going to achieve anything but further isolation and pressure by threats, by launches, by any of this."
North Korea's controversial launch of a new satellite-bearing rocket earlier this month failed as it broke apart before escaping the earth's atmosphere and fell into the sea.
The launch had sparked widespread international criticism, including from the United States, South Korea and the European Union, as it was seen as a disguised long-range ballistic missile test as part of Pyongyang's preparation for a possible nuclear test.
Clinton said at the sidelines of a G8 Foreign Ministers' meeting in Washington that the new regime in Pyongyang that assumed power since the death in December of longtime leader Kim Jong Il must refrain from pursuing "a cycle of provocation."
South Korea, one of the staunch U.S. allies in Asia, is hosting a key American defense base - under a mutual defense treaty they signed during the 1950-1953 Korean War, in which America fought alongside the South.
U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), a command of 28,500 U.S. troops, is maintained combat-ready under the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC).
Alerted by the sinking of a South Korean warship and the killing of two of its soldiers and two civilians by North Korea in separate attacks in 2010, South Korea and the United States have been sending strong signals to Pyongyang by conducting joint military maneuvers.
Under a standing contingency plan, if North Korea attacks the South, the U.S. is supposed to dispatch nearly 700,000 troops across all branches of the service, along with about 160 destroyers and 2,000 airplanes from their bases in the U.S., Japan and Guam.
by RTT Staff Writer
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