By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, March 16 (Yonhap) -- Joint military exercises between the United States and its allies are working effectively to deter aggression despite continued provocations from North Korea, a U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson said Thursday.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder made the remarks hours after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), marking its second ICBM launch this year.
"I think what's important for people to understand is one, deterrence continues to work," the Pentagon spokesperson told a daily press briefing when asked how the U.S.' joint military drills can help prevent North Korean provocations.
"Despite launching missiles into the ocean, North Korea is not attacking, nor should they, and that the United States, Japan, South Korea and other allies and partners in the region will continue to work together to expand that deterrence and to keep our countries safe," he added.
The North's latest ICBM launch, which followed the firing of short-range ballistic and cruise missiles over the past week, came amid an ongoing joint military exercise of South Korea and the U.S., called Freedom Shield.
Pyongyang periodically accuses joint military drills of South Korea and the U.S. of being aimed at invading the North, and recently threatened to take "overwhelming actions" should the allies conduct exercise Freedom Shield, which began Monday.
Ryder insisted the U.S.' joint exercises are "defensive in nature" and that they are "meant to deter potential aggression in the region."
"And so in terms of North Korea's reactions to these types of exercises, as you heard me say before, not only is it inappropriate, it is destabilizing and concerning clearly to those in the region," he told the press briefing.