By David Vergun
WASHINGTON – Last night, North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test, launching two short-range missiles. Two days ago, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan.
“The United States strongly condemns this irresponsible act, which violates numerous U.N. Security Council mandates,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, who held a press briefing today.
The U.S. urges North Korea to cease this type of provocative action, he said. Such actions escalate military tensions, destabilize the region and harm efforts at peace and security.
In response to this provocation, the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, joined by two Japanese navy destroyers and one South Korean destroyer, arrived yesterday in the Sea of Japan to conduct trilateral ballistic missile defense exercises, Ryder said.
“These exercises send a clear message of allied unity between our nations and enhance the interoperability of our collective forces,” he said.
“The exercises also demonstrate the deep strength of our trilateral relationship with Japan and the Republic of Korea, which is resolute against those who challenge regional stability,” he said.
“Moving forward, we will continue to consult closely with our allies and partners and stand ready to respond appropriately to any potential future provocative acts by North Korea. As always, we remain committed to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific and peace and stability throughout the region,” Ryder added.
In other news, Ryder said that after 18 months of thorough work, to include consultations with subject matter, historians and affected installation communities, the Naming Commission completed its analysis and provided Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III with its final report.
After reviewing the report, Austin concurred with all the commission’s recommendations, and is committed to implementing them as soon as possible, he said.
Today, Austin directed Defense Department and services leaders to begin implementation immediately following the National Defense Authorization Act’s mandated 90-day waiting period, he said.
Austin is grateful for the work of the commission and thanked them for their dedicated efforts and recommendations “that will give proud new names that are rooted in their local communities, and that honor American heroes whose valor, courage and patriotism, exemplify the very best of the U.S. military,” he added.
Separately, Ryder congratulated Marine Corps Col. Nicole Aunapu Mann, who made history as one of a four-member astronaut crew to blast off from Florida yesterday, bound for the International Space Station. Mann, 45, is the first Native American woman to launch into space.