SEOUL, South Korea: The United States will carry out its security commitments to South Korea and is prepared to meet any hostilities from North Korea, said the leader of the U.S. Strategic Command.
"We're very familiar with North Korea's capabilities, and I'm very confident in our ability to deter that," Adm. Charles Richard, commander of Stratcom, said.
"I am fully confident that we're prepared for whatever they might decide to do," he added.
The U.S. Strategic Command, located at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, maintains command of U.S. strategic bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
While acknowledging North Korea's growing threat, Richard said a diplomatic solution remains the preferred option.
"That situation is ripe for a diplomatic resolution," he said. "The best path to resolve issues with North Korea is using diplomacy first."
North Korea, however, continues developing its nuclear and missile programs. A recent United Nations panel of experts said North Korea has "increased its nuclear strike capability, as well as its ability to counter foreign missile defense systems, while safeguarding itself with its own new air defense system."
Recent satellite image analysis has concluded that North Korea may be preparing to test a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
Further, Richards recently wrote of North Korea, "It continues conducting activities that threaten regional stability and defy international norms. North Korea has tested ICBMs designed to strike the entire continental United States and has a large inventory of theater ballistic missiles," he wrote.