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N. Korea continues to pose "extraordinary threat" to Asia-Pacific region: Pentagon official Updated: 2020-06-19 13:39:31 KST

A senior Pentagon official has stressed that North Korea's latest hostile activities show the regime poses a (quote) "extraordinary" threat to the Asia-Pacific region.
Speaking to reporters via teleconference on Thursday, David Helvey, the acting assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, explained that this calls for Washington to continue to stay vigilant.
He also underscored that the U.S. is in close coordination with South Korea to ensure readiness against further threats from the North.
He added that many issues including the resumption of large-scale joint military drills between Washington and Seoul as well as bringing strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula, are currently being discussed with South Korea.
Helvey added that it's difficult to tell what the regime could do in the coming days or weeks.
He added it's crucial to remain vigilant against all types of threats and provocations.
The official also stressed that the goal of achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization in the North is not only that of the U.S., but one shared by countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
Regarding the issue of North Korea, Reuters reported Thursday that David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, expressed a willingness to seek ways to cooperate with China.
Despite the fact that Beijing has not been helpful in its latest actions, he made it clear that this is an issue on which cooperation with Beijing is essential.
Such remarks come amid signs that the North Korean military is moving to the front lines near the South.
Several South Korean military sources said Thursday that North Korean troops were spotted at civil police guard posts in the DMZ that had been left empty as a result of an inter-Korean military agreement signed in September 2018.
The North's state-run media also warned on the same day that the demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office was just the beginning of its provocations towards the South, adding the regime's next moves could (quote) "go far beyond imagination."
As of now, however, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says no unusual activity has been detected, and stressed that Seoul is closely monitoring the situation, continuing its full readiness posture.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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