A top U.S. naval commander said Tuesday his country will keep sending formidable defense assets to the Korean Peninsula in combined deterrence and response to North Korea’s “self-destructive” actions.
Adm. Scott Swift, who commands the U.S. Pacific Fleet, stressed that although South Koreans stand closest to the North’s threats, they “do not face this aggressor alone.”
He cited the North’s continued provocations, including “ill-advised” ballistic missile launches and inflammatory warnings of nuclear war, highlighted by its sixth nuclear test Sunday.
Speaking at the International Seapower Symposium here, the admiral described the Kim Jong-un regime’s choice as “irrationally self-destructive actions and behaviors that defy logic and explanation.”
“We will continue to deploy carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups, AEGIS ships, the world’s most capable submarine force and advanced aircraft like the F-35, P-8 and MH-60R to be prepared to respond decisively when called,” he stressed. “Today, our platforms have longer reach, are more interconnected and possess greater lethality than what has ever been fielded before.”
He added that his fleet has also seamlessly integrated operations with South Korean and Japanese navies for overwhelming ballistic missile defense and anti-submarine warfare.
He expressed confidence about the might of his unit in charge of defending the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
“Let our potential adversaries take pause and note that the only naval force more powerful than the U.S. Pacific Fleet is the entirety of the United States Navy,” he said.
Swift is scheduled to meet with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo later in the day.
The minister told lawmakers Monday that South Korea has requested the U.S. dispatch nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and strategic bombers to Korea on a regular basis.