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US heightening crisis in Korean Peninsula: Former Pentagon official

The United States is heightening the crisis in the Korean Peninsula by continuing military exercises in the region and avoiding to seek help from regional powers, Russia and China, says a former Pentagon official.

In an interview with Press TV on Monday, Michael Maloof warned that the US was exacerbating the situation, while commenting on recent remarks by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who described North Korea’s ballistic missiles program as a “serious threat.”

Carter asserted in an interview with NBC News on Sunday that the United States would be prepared to shoot down a North Korean missile launch or test “if it were coming towards our territory, or the territory of our friends and allies.”

According to Maloof, Washington’s moves in the region give North Korea’s “paranoid,” state no choice but to consider them as nuclear threats from a world power.

“The United States has a treaty obligation… to protect South Korea, however, we undertake numerous military exercises every year with the South, which the North interprets as a potential threat,” said the Washington-based analyst. “Because we have flown B-2 bombers from Guam in connection with these exercises with the South.”

“North Korea is going to interpret that as a potential for an invasion by the West and thereby they need to arm themselves.”

The former Pentagon official suggested the US should defer such exercises, considered menacing “in the eyes of the North Koreans.”

“The fact that we have all these nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles… [means] we could obliterate the country in no time flat but it’s not going to shoot down any [North Korean] missiles.”

Apart from that, Maloof argued, “you don’t know if a missile test is fact is the real thing and that’s what heightens the intensity of the crisis.”

He further suggested that the US should seek help from China and Russia if it really is trading in the path of “calming the situation.”

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