WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The North Koreans are clearly working to counter U.S. efforts to ensure the stability of the Korean Peninsula, the top U.S. military official said.
North Korea last week deployed a satellite into orbit using a rocket that was said to have a range long enough to reach the United States.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command, however, said there was no threat to the U.S. mainland, though the incident was a surprise given technical difficulties reported by the North Koreans ahead of the launch.
U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the American Forces Press Service the launch was a clear effort to destabilize the region.
"My thoughts are that the North Koreans continue to be a force of instability in a region while we're working diligently to increase stability," he said. "Their decision to do that was very unwise."
A failed effort to launch a rocket in April broke a North Korean pledge to halt military and nuclear testing in exchange for food assistance from the United States.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that Chinese officials met with South Korean leaders to consider diplomatic action against Pyongyang for last week's launch.
Monday marks the first anniversary of the death of longtime North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.