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Top U.S. military officer calls for readiness against N. Korea, other actors

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, May 28 (Yonhap) — The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff called on service members Thursday to focus on the threats posed by North Korea and other actors while protecting themselves in the coronavirus pandemic.

Gen. Mark Milley spoke in a virtual town hall with service members and Department of Defense civilians to answer questions about COVID-19.

“I would just leave with two thoughts,” he said. “One is, protect the force. Continue to protect yourself and your families because we can’t protect the American people if we ourselves are not healthy.”

Secondly, he cited “our mission.”

“The world is a big world,” Milley said. “There’s a lot of things out there that are not necessarily in the United States’ interests that happen every single day, from terrorists to Russia to China to Iran and North Korea, and all kinds of other threats and challenges that are out there.”

U.S. forces have been operating effectively within the COVID-19 environment, he said.

“So keep your eye on the ball. Stay attuned to readiness. Let’s keep your operational skills up to speed. And then protect yourself, protect your family and we’ll be in good shape,” he added.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramon Colon-Lopez also took questions during the town hall.

This EPA file photo shows U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Yonhap)

This EPA file photo shows U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Yonhap)