North Korea is thought to be “continuing preparations” for a nuclear test, and a state department spokesperson said Monday that the US is ready to deal with any threat posed by the “recalcitrant” country.
“Since a long time ago, we have been worried that North Korea might do a seventh nuclear test, which would be the eighth nuclear test ever. We think that the DPRK is getting ready for its seventh nuclear test at Punggye-ri “Price said this at a daily press briefing, calling North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“We’re ready for any situation by working closely with our partners and allies all over the world,” he said.
The US might have to make “adjustments” to its defence posture, the spokesperson said.
“We are ready to make both short-term and long-term changes to our military posture as needed in response to DPRK provocations and to strengthen both defence and deterrence to protect our allies in the region,” he said.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman made the comments as she started a three-day trip to Japan to meet with her South Korean and Japanese counterparts and talk with them one-on-one and in groups.
Price said that Sherman’s trip to Tokyo, which is still going on, will be “dedicated to talking about the threat that the DPRK poses to the region.”
The department’s spokesperson also said again that the US is ready to talk to the North.
“We have always made it clear that we don’t want to fight with the DPRK. We are still willing to talk. We are still willing to talk, “he said.
“At the same time, we are absolutely committed to the safety of our people in the area and of our treaty allies,” Price said.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House, said that he was worried about North Korea’s recent actions and brought up the possibility of a nuclear test.
“We have always been worried about what North Korea might do next. It’s not just because they’ve sped up missile launches in the last few weeks, for example. It’s always been a worry of ours, which is why, again, a few months ago, we added some intelligence gathering tools off the Korean Peninsula to help us learn more “he told the press in a phone briefing.
North Korea launched almost a dozen ballistic missiles in just three weeks starting in late September. This brings the total number of ballistic missiles it has launched this year to 44, which US officials say is the most ever launched in a single year.
“We have said that the nuclear test by North Korea could happen at any time. We still think this is true, “said Kirby.
The NSC strategic communications coordinator also said that the US is still willing to talk to Pyongyang and that the US has offered to meet with the North “without preconditions.”
“This offer still stands. There are no rules. We are ready to sit down with you and start talking.”