U.S. says no signs North Korea preparing new provocations

SINGAPORE (BestGrowthStock) – The United States sees no indications North Korea is preparing any new “provocations” or an attack on the South, a top U.S. military official said on Friday, as tension simmers over the sinking of a South Korean warship.

Admiral Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said there were no signs North Korea was preparing a nuclear test or moving troops toward the South. North Korea has said war could break out at any moment.

“Right now we’re not seeing indications that North Korea is intending the next provocation,” Willard said.

“But I think everyone in the region is watching North Korea very closely given their unpredictability,” he told reporters in Singapore on the sidelines of a major security conference, where South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will make the keynote speech later on Friday.

South Korea has blamed the North for torpedoing its navy corvette Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors. The North denies responsibility and accuses the South of staging the incident to help Lee in local elections this week.

Willard said U.S. naval forces in the Pacific were ready to respond to any threat from North Korea and have been told to be vigilant because of rising tensions.

“What I certainly have done is alerted my forces to be … particularly vigilant given this particular provocation and the nature of it,” Willard said.

He said the United States was prepared for a confrontation with the North despite strains on U.S. forces from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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(Reporting by Adam Entous; Editing by Paul Tait)

U.S. says no signs North Korea preparing new provocations