U.S. Warns N.Korea on 'Provocations'

The United States is warning a new round of saber-rattling by North Korea is "dangerous and has to stop." The warning comes as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel prepares for a week-long trip focusing on issues in Asia, including North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
 
North Korea's latest attempt to grab attention with live-fire artillery drills -- lobbing artillery rounds into South Korean waters -- is not going over well with U.S. officials.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland on March 28, 2014. /AP Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland on March 28, 2014. /AP
Defense Secretary Hagel gave a stern response during a briefing with reporters Monday.
 
"The provocation that the North Koreans have once again engaged in is dangerous and it needs to stop," he said.

The North Korean live-fire drills follow a series of missile tests and threats of "a new form of nuclear test." 

The U.S. defense secretary is set to embark Tuesday on a 10-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region, highlighted by a meeting with regional ASEAN defense ministers in Hawaii and a trip to China, where Hagel plans to discuss ongoing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
 
"Obviously when I'm in China that will be a subject that I will discuss with my counterpart in China," he said.

Beijing has said it is concerned by Pyongyang's actions, but has called for restraint from both Pyongyang and Seoul.
 
North Korea says its actions come in response to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which Pyongyang describes as a prelude to an invasion.

VOA News / Apr. 02, 2014 08:22 KST