U.S. to keep eye on North Korea after short-range missile launches

The U.S. and its allies will remain watchful and continue to monitor the Korean Peninsula after North Korea fired five short-range missiles over the weekend, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said on Monday that the U.S. is continuing to call on the leaders of North Korea to exercise restraint and follow its international obligations. Little responded to questions about whether the recent launch of short-range missiles was a return to earlier provocative behavior by North Korea.

"We have noticed broadly that North Korea has ratcheted back its provocative actions in recent weeks, and its bellicose rhetoric," Little said. "We hope that that is a trend they hope to follow."

Little said that while the missile launches could be considered provocative, the launch of the missiles does not necessarily violate the country's international obligations.

In the last few months, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test, fired a ballistic missile and threatened the U.S. and South Korea with a nuclear attack. North Korea has since decreased its inflammatory rhetoric.

"But anything that can be construed to be provocative continues to concern us, and the North Koreans have been known to shift tactics and behavior on short notice," Little said. "And we're mindful of their behavior in the past."