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May 25th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

Mullen: North Korea 'increasingly belligerent'

The top-ranking U.S. military officer said Monday that North Korea's reported nuclear test is a primarily a diplomatic matter right now, not a military one.

"I think it's really important ... right now to emphasize the diplomatic path," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN's "American Morning."

"Obviously we've got forces deployed to that part of the world, we have had for a significant period of time, we've got over 25,000 troops who are stationed in South Korea," he added. "We've got very close alliances there with Japan and South Korea as well. ... The countries who are involved in [the six-party talks], I think, are absolutely critical as we move forward to address this increasingly belligerent challenge from North Korea."

Mullen said the test did not come as a surprise to the United States.

"We weren't surprised because of recent statements by North Korean leadership that they intended to do this," he said.

"As you know, they also recently ... unsuccessfully launched potentially an intercontinental ballistic missile."

He said the reported test shows Pyongyang is becoming "increasingly belligerent."

Filed under: North Korea
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. John

    People need to calm down. North Korea won't do anything just like Iran won't do anything.

    This is empty rhetoric and saber-rattling of the feeblest kind.

    This has more to do with an internal power struggle in North Korea than anything else. Its time the US stops worrying about 2nd rate, toothless dictatorships and worry about its own affairs.

    This is all media hype...

    May 26, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  2. George

    It's time to helpl/push Japan and South Korea into acquiring nuclear weapons. Between them, they will have no trouble containing North Korea. They are needed to counter the growing menace posed by China, anyway...

    May 25, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  3. Ted Paffenback

    Back in 1950, I was with the 1st Marine Division fighting in the Korean War. Back then it was the Russians and Chinese calling the shots, with the North Koreans doing what they were told. Today it's primarily the Chinese who supply and direct the key activities of the North Korean military.

    It's my belief that If we can diplomatically get the Chinese to cooperate,
    things won't get radically out of hand. If not, I'm afraid we're in for big time trouble - again.........

    May 25, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  4. Missile Defense

    NK is stepping up their weapons program, yet at the same time Obama is cutting back our Missile Defense program (canceling the KEI program 4 months before the first test flight and reducing the number of GMD missiles). It seems like we are inviting this kind of provocation by eliminating our ability to neutralize the threat.

    May 25, 2009 at 12:12 pm |