Top U.S. general says DPRK has not changed military posture
WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has not changed its military posture despite heated exchange of rhetoric with the United States, a top American general said on Tuesday.
"While the political space is clearly very charged right now, we haven't seen a change in the posture of North Korean (DPRK) forces and we watch that very closely," Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee.
"What we haven't seen is military activity that would be reflective of the charged political environment," Dunford added.
Asked about his assessment of DPRK's ballistic missile program, the general said the country will "soon" have the capability to strike U.S. mainland with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
"Whether it's three months or six months or 18 months, it is soon, and we ought to conduct ourselves as though it is just a matter of time, and a matter of very short time, before North Korea (DPRK) has that capability," Dunford told lawmakers.
On Tuesday, at a joint press conference with visiting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, U.S. President Donald Trump called on nations to further isolate the DPRK in response to its nuclear and missile programs.
"North Korean (DPRK) nuclear weapons and missile development threaten the entire world with unthinkable loss of life. All nations must act now to ensure the regime's complete denuclearization," Trump said.
In recent weeks, the United States and the DPRK have been engaging in a war of words, which escalated after a tweet message by Trump infuriated Pyongyang.
Trump tweeted over the weekend that DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer," which was interpreted by Pyongyang as a declaration of war. The White House later clarified that Washington has no intention of entering into armed conflict on the peninsula.
The escalating rhetoric came shortly after the row between the United States and the DPRK at the UN General Assembly.
In his first speech at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 19, Trump threatened that the United States would have no choice but to "totally destroy" the DPRK unless Pyongyang refrains from its nuclear tests and missile launches.
In response, DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un vowed to retaliate, saying the threat to "totally destroy" a sovereign state has gone beyond the limit.
China has discouraged the two countries from escalating their war of words and has repeatedly expressed the hope that both U.S. and DPRK statesmen have the wisdom to realize that resorting to the use of force is not an option for resolving the peninsula issue.
"We have heard threats of war too often recently," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a regular news briefing on Tuesday.
"There will be no winners should war break out on the Korean Peninsula and it will bring suffering to regional countries," Lu said.