December 04, 2014 09:40
The next commander of the U.S. Pacific Command on Tuesday described North Korea as the "most volatile and dangerous threat" in the Asia-Pacific region.
Admiral Harry Harris was speaking during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He added North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is "opportunistic, unpredictable and ruthless as he seeks to acquire nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them intercontinentally."
The Pacific Fleet must be "ready to fight tonight," if required, because of the regime's "uncertain activities," he added.
Harris claimed the North's massive conventional military capability, its tenacious development of weapons of mass destruction and weapons delivery systems, and the regime's consolidation of power are a clear and present threat in the Asia-Pacific region.
He also indicated that he would deploy 60 percent of 286 U.S. warships in this region by 2019 to remove the threat from the North and deal with a rising China.
Meanwhile, in a separate written statement Harris pledged to send two additional Aegis destroyers with a ballistic missile defense system to Japan by 2017 and deploy a fourth nuclear-powered submarine at Guam.
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