The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific says North Korea's nuclear capabilities have reached a serious level.
"There's desire for nuclear missiles and nuclear capabilities as we said over and over again are highly threatening to the global security environment."
Admiral Samuel Locklear added that South Korea and Japan should be working in step to curb the North's nuclear development, but that political tensions between the two is affecting America's ability to coordinate with its allies.
Locklear said Seoul and Tokyo need to realize the importance of bilateral and trilateral military-to-military cooperation.
"They have a common concern, a huge common concern with North Korea. And that we encourage them to -- both Japan and South Korea -- to work together to overcome their political difficulties so that we can work to provide a better security environment in this region."
Historical and territorial disputes between Seoul and Tokyo have dipped bilateral relations to their lowest level in years.
Those tensions have kept military cooperation at a minimum, despite repeated provocations from the North.
This past weekend, Pyongyang fired off yet another missile into waters off its eastern coast, this just ten days after the UN Security Council condemned the North for its previous series of missile launches in recent weeks.
In the face of the hostilities, South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-gu said yesterday that Seoul and Washington were reviewing various ways to boost their joint combat readiness.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.