Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell said on Wednesday that North Korea will become a direct threat to the United States sooner than within five years given the regime's pursuit of both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Morrell was clarifying US Defense Secretary Robert Gates' remarks earlier this month that North Korea could pose a threat to America within five years.
The spokesman added that Pyeongyang's provocative behavior is of great concern and that is why the US is working with China, Japan and other countries to urge the North to stop its provocative behavior and its pursuit of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles.
Morrell said such destabilizing behavior by Pyeongyang is forcing Washington to seek ways to bolster its military capacity in East Asia to better deal with possible future provocations by the communist country.
These remarks indicate the US could be considering beefing up its already significant military presence in South Korea and Japan with over 28-thousand and 50-thousand troops stationed in the two countries, respectively.
Morrell made the comments in response to a question on reports that President Barack Obama told Chinese President Hu Jintao last week that Washington plans to beef up its military capacity in the Pacific unless Beijing steps up pressure on Pyeongyang to end its provocative pursuits.
Kim Na-ri, Arirang News.