White House comments on North Korean missile movement

The U.S. would not be surprised if North Korea conducted a missile launch because it would follow the country's pattern of behavior against its U.N. commitments, according to a briefing on Monday.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to multiple questions related to North Korea during his daily press briefing on Monday. While North Korea recently moved a missile near its coast in preparation for a test, there was very little in the way of rhetoric or motion on the situation since that time. When asked if the lack of movement in the situation meant the crisis had cooled, Carney said the White House would continue to monitor the matter closely.

"We have said for some time we would not be surprised if there were a missile launch because it is in keeping with a pattern of behavior that we have seen before," Carney said. "Unfortunately, that pattern of behavior is one that flies in the face of North Korea's commitments to the United Nations, its commitment to denuclearization, its commitment not to pursue the kind of missile development that it has pursued. And we are working with our partners and allies to isolate and pressure North Korea to get it to cease and desist this kind of provocative behavior, to dial back the provocative and unhelpful rhetoric, and instead to choose the path open to it -- the path that is best for the North Korean people -- and that is one that recognizes the need to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and for North Korea to verifiably abide by its commitments."

Carney said that despite a lack of recent rhetoric from North Korea, the White House is in a state of vigilance with regards to all recent North Korean developments.

"We're not in any way prepared to say that this episode or period is over," Carney said. "The fact is North Korea remains out of compliance. It continues to say and do things that serve no other purpose than to heighten tensions and to further isolate the North Korean people and the North Korean regime with negative consequences for the North Korean economy and, as I said, the North Korean people. So we'll continue to monitor this."