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    Monday, June 18, 2018-11:10:15P.M.






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Pentagon ready to defend Guam, territories

IN the face of North Korea’s saber rattling and threats against the U.S. and its allies, the Department of Defense declared its readiness to deter any attack.

U.S. Pacific Command Senior Editor SSG Carl N. Hudson told Variety yesterday, “The Department of Defense fully intends to defend the United States and its territories from any ballistic missile attack.”

South Korea and U.S. warships participate in a joint military drill, “Foal Eagle,” in South Korea’s West Sea on March 17, 2013.  APSouth Korea and U.S. warships participate in a joint military drill, “Foal Eagle,” in South Korea’s West Sea on March 17, 2013. AP

He said that the U.S. maintains a range of ballistic missile defense capabilities that could be deployed in Guam’s or an ally’s defense in times of crisis.

Hudson, however, declined to disclose specifics as to how the U.S. is going to respond to attacks.

“Due to operational security reasons, we do not discuss current and future plans regarding the location of personnel or assets, or their movements,” Hudson said.

Asked if the recent budget cuts to the Department of Defense may impact their ability to respond to contingencies in the region, Hudson said, “Sequestration as a near-term fiscal challenge should not be understood to mean a lack of long-term commitment. We will continue to work with our partners and allies to ensure that a stable security environment continues to exist in the Asia-Pacific region.”

North Korea has been making verbal threats in response to the U.S. announcement of a military exercise in South Korea involving its B-52 bombers.

In a statement, North Korea alluded to a potential attack at the U.S. bases on Okinawa and Guam. “The U.S. should not forget that Andersen Air Force Base on Guam where the B-52s take off and naval bases in Japan proper and Okinawa where nuclear-powered submarines are launched are within the striking range of the DPRK’s [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] precision strike means.”

This wasn’t the first time that North Korea made the claim that it is a military power to be reckoned with.

The Pentagon, in a statement to Variety last year, made a similar assurance to its allies and territories in the Pacific that it would stand ready to defend the region and U.S. interests.

On April 2012, North Korea launched its Unha-3 rocket similar to its long-range, 35-meter long Taepodong-2 rocket that has a 6000 k.m. range.

The rocket launch coincided with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un’s ascension to the top post, and departed leader Kim Il-Sung’s centennial birth anniversary.

Pentagon spokeswoman for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, Defense Press Operations, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs told Variety last year, “North Korea’s plan to conduct a missile launch is a direct violation of its international obligations and is a highly provocative act. North Korea should stop engaging in these types of provocative and destabilizing actions.”

With the recent warning made by North Korea, PACOM’s Hudson said, “We continue to urge the North Korean leadership to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with its international obligations.”

Meanwhile, online sources revealed that South Korea and the U.S. had completed a contingency plan that laid out the two allies’ response to deter provocations by North Korea.

The plan was signed by United Nations Command, R.O.K.-U.S. Combined Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea Commander U.S. Army General James D. Thurman and Joint Chiefs of Staff of the South Korean military Gen. Jung Seung-jo last Friday.

The long-simmering tensions between the two sides of the 38th parallel and the U.S. have been kept at bay from boiling over since Korean War reached a stalemate in 1953.

It was recently reported that operational control of the South Korean military, which a U.S. general has been holding since the Korean War, will be transferred to South Korea by 2015.