- By John HudsonJohn Hudson is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy, where he covers diplomacy and national security issues in Washington. He has reported from several geopolitical hotspots, including Ukraine, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, and Georgia. Prior to joining FP, John covered politics and global affairs for the Atlantic magazine’s news blog, the Atlantic Wire. In 2008, he covered the August war between Russia and Georgia from Tbilisi and the breakaway region of Abkhazia. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, Fox News radio, Al Jazeera, and other broadcast outlets. He has been with the magazine since 2013.
Pushing back against reporting in an article by the Washington Free Beacon, the White House reiterated on Monday that North Korea has not altered its military posture since its steep uptick in belligerent rhetoric last week.
In a Monday press briefing, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that North Korea’s rhetoric has been all bark and no bite. "Despite the harsh rhetoric we are hearing from Pyongyang, we are not seeing changes to the North Korean military posture such as large-scale mobilizations and positioning of forces," Carney said. "We are vigilant and we are monitoring the Korean situation very diligently."
While Carney’s statement about the lack of troop movements was duly noted, noticeably absent from the briefing was any mention of the country’s anti-aircraft, artillery, or missile systems. Then, hours after the briefing, the conservative Washington Free Beacon cited anonymous officials discussing a mobilization of missile forces.
North Korea, meanwhile, is mobilizing missile forces, including road-mobile short- and medium-range missiles, according to officials familiar with satellite imagery of missile bases.
The missile activity is believed to be North Korea’s response to the ongoing U.S.-South Korean military exercises that last week included highly publicized flights by two B-2 strategic nuclear bombers near North Korean territory as part of annual military exercises.
In a post-briefing follow-up about the movement of missile systems with National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, the White House reiterated that all was quiet in North Korea.
"Jay mentioned a couple examples, but his broad point was that we are not seeing changes to the North Korean military posture," she told Foreign Policy.
By contrast, the U.S. military moved a Navy destroyer to the coast of the Korean peninsula today with the capability of intercepting missiles. A day earlier, the Pentagon sent two F-22 stealth fighter jets to Seoul.
The Free Beacon article did not display the satellite imagery relevant to its report.