The U.S.' recent show of force around the Korean Peninsula was designed to send a warning to North Korea and "reduce pressure on Seoul to take unilateral action," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday.
Carney was explaining why Washington recently announced the deployment in joint exercises with South Korea of hard-hitting weaponry such as B-52 bombers, B-2 stealth bombers, and F-22 fighter jets.
Carney appeared to hint that Washington does not want South Korea to respond in kind to any North Korean provocation.
"Of course, Washington is worried about provocations from Pyongyang. But it is also very worried about the possibility of South Korea taking unilateral action in response and of the situation escalating to the point that the U.S. can't control it," a diplomatic source in Washington said.
"The actions we have taken... have been important steps to reassure our allies, demonstrate our resolve to the North," Carney said.