December 12th, 2012

Panetta: North Korea rocket launch a “clear provocation”

One day after North Korea surprised the world by launching a rocket that officials in Pyongyang claim was carrying a peaceful satellite, CNN’s Erin Burnett sat down with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Kabul, Afghanistan and asked him about the United States’ response to this development.

“We’re still assessing just exactly what happened here, looking at each of the stages and determining whether or not it really was a success,” Panetta said. “But the fact that they’ve launched this missile is a clear provocation. We warned them not to do it.”

Panetta also added that the United States is continuing to build up its military presence in the region, a task that may have greater urgency after this launch.

“One of the reasons we’re re-balancing in the Pacific is to deal with the threat from North Korea. And we will. We’re prepared to do that and we’ll respond if we have to,” Panetta said.

Tune into OutFront tonight at 7P/ET to watch Erin’s entire one-on-one interview with Secretary Panetta.

Tomorrow night Erin Burnett OutFront will be live from Kabul, Afghanistan.