RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – Following the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said on Monday the U.S. has seen no indication of alarming North Korean military movements and there is no heightened alert for the peninsula.
“No, to this point, we have not seen any change in North Korean behavior of a nature that would alarm us,” Dempsey told reporters.
A senior U.S. official confirmed that two short-range missile tests conducted by North Korea were planned. "It was expected," the official said. "There was no linkage" to reports of Kim Jong Il's death.
Dempsey said he learned of the death “in the middle of the night as it was evolving” from Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld.
“The chain of command, if you will, military and civilian, very quickly coalesced,” Dempsey said, stretching to Pacific Command and U.S. Forces-Korea, but troops have not been put on heightened alert. “No changes in troop dispositions, no changes in readiness levels, we’re simply remaining vigilant and relying upon our leaders in South Korea.”
Dempsey said he is worried about the transition of power and the assumed ascension of Kim Jon-il’s son, Kim Jong-un.
“He is young to be placed in this position,” Dempsey said.