Hagel-N Korea

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Thursday that North Korea has become more dangerous today and the U.S. has to be prepared for "any eventuality" on the peninsula.

"I think their very provocative actions and belligerent tone has ratcheted up the danger. And we have to understand that reality," he said during a news conference at the Pentagon.

He stressed that the U.S. and its allies should take seriously "every provocative, bellicose word and action that this new young leader (Kim Jong-un) has taken so far."

Hagel dismissed a view that dispatching B-2 stealth bombers to the peninsula was a provocative move itself.

He said the B-2 flight was just part of annual joint military drills with South Korea.

"Those exercises are mostly to assure our allies that they can count on us to be prepared and to help them deter conflict," Hagel said.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>