North Korea might have spent the last few weeks bellowing threats towards South Korea, Japan, and the US, but the situation on the ground looks rather less threatening.
In a Monday press conference, the White House revealed it has seen no signs of increased military activity in the isolated country despite sending US fighter jets and warships to the Korean peninsula.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told the press, “Despite the harsh rhetoric we’re hearing from Pyongyang, we are not seeing changes to the North Korean military posture, such as large-scale mobilizations and positioning of forces.” The US, he concluded, had “not seen action to back up the rhetoric.”
Despite the lack of military movement in North Korea, Carney stated the US was “monitoring the Korean situation very diligently.”
North Korea announced on Saturday that it had entered a “state of war” with South Korea. It has also issued threats to launch a “pre-emptive nuclear strike” on US military bases in South Korea, Japan and the Pacific.
The US responded to the threats by flying nuclear-capable B-2 and B-52 planes over South Korea in March. Referring to the sorties, Mr. Carney said:
“The actions we have taken have been important steps to reassure our allies, demonstrate our resolve to the North and reduce pressure on Seoul to take unilateral action. We believe this has reduced the chance of miscalculation and provocation.”
Over the weekend, North Korea described nuclear weapons as “the nation’s life” and vowed on Monday that nuclear weapons would be given “greater prominence” in the country’s defenses.
However, Kaesŏng Industrial Park, a factory complex that the North runs with South Korea, has remained open, despite North Korean threats.