Any joint military exercises of South Korea and the United States are defensive in nature, a Pentagon spokesperson said Tuesday, insisting that there is no reason for North Korea to have any objections to such exercises.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder reiterated that the joint exercises are aimed at promoting peace and stability in the region.
“The United States and the Republic of Korea do conduct exercises on a regular basis,” the spokesperson told a daily press briefing, referring to South Korea by its official name.
“As you know those exercises are meant to be defensive in nature and to help us to exercise our interoperability and to signal, again, our commitment to working with one another to promote peace, stability and security in the region,” added Ryder.
A South Korean official earlier said the country plans to hold a multinational maritime exercise, known as the Proliferation Security Initiative, that is aimed at preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Indo-Pacific region.
Ryder said he did not have any announcements to make regarding the proposed exercise when asked.
The Seoul official earlier said details of the exercise, including participating countries, have yet to be finalized.
The naval exercise, however, is widely expected to prompt strong reactions from Pyongyang, which periodically accuses U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises of being war rehearsals aimed at toppling its regime.
Ryder said the North’s objections to any future military exercise can be well anticipated.
“But again these are defensive, any exercises we do are defensive in nature and meant to promote interoperability with, again, our primary focus being on promoting peace, security and stability in the region,” he added.