- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday that the latest test-firing of short-range missiles by North Korea is fresh evidence that the Korean Peninsula is a potential flashpoint for conflict.

“It’s a reminder of how dangerous things are on the Korean peninsula and how a highly ready (U.S.) force in support of a very strong ally … is necessary to keep the peace out there,” he said.

Carter made his comments to reporters while visiting Yokota air base, home to U.S. Forces Japan. Afterward he flew to Osan air base in South Korea, his first visit to the country as defense secretary.

Carter was responding to reports that North Korea launched two missiles Tuesday into the sea off its western coast.

He joked, “If it’s a welcoming message to me I’m flattered. I’ve been on the job six weeks and that’s two missiles; that’s pretty good.”

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