PACOM Concerned about North Korea

US Pacific Command officials continue to carefully monitor North Korea, as they remain concerned about the threats that the country poses to Asian-Pacific security following a series of provocations last year, said Adm. Robert Willard, PACOM commander, Tuesday. During a meeting with reporters at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C, Willard said the command expects tensions to rise between North Korea and South Korea after Kim Jong Un replaces his father, Kim Jong Il, as North Korea’s leader. “In the past, succession has come with provocation as the new leadership has attempted to establish their bona fides with the North Korean military,” explained Willard. He added, “We try to determine the succession dynamics that are ongoing, especially as we approach 2012, which the North Koreans have declared as an auspicious year for themselves.” (Willard transcript, including video of event.)