U.S. says North Korea wants world to think it has nuclear capability

North Korea wants the world to think it has nuclear missile capability and the U.S. will take that potential capability seriously, the U.S. said in a State Department press conference on Tuesday.

Admiral Samuel Locklear III, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, made the remarks on Tuesday during an Asia-Pacific U.S. security overview. When asked about the U.S. assessment of the North Korean nuclear missile threat, Locklear said that North Korea must denuclearize.

"The end state for North Korea is that they must denuclearize, and I think that's been made clear by - not only by the U.S.-South Korea alliance, but most of the other people in the world have said this is the right thing is for total denuclearization of North Korea, and the sooner the better from a military commander's perspective," Locklear said.

In response to a question about North Korea's nuclear missile capability, Locklear said the real question is about whether North Korea wants the world to think it has the capability.

"They want us to believe they have the capability," Locklear said. "So for our military planning perspective, when I see KN-08 road mobile missiles that appear on a parade on a - in a North Korean military parade, I am bound to take that seriously, both for not only the peninsula but also the region, as well as my own homeland, should we speculate that those missiles have - could potentially have the technology to reach out."

Locklear said the U.S. is committed to having the assets available to defend the homeland and its alliances in the region against attack to protect peace and prosperity.