Panetta: N. Korea Has Been ‘Needlessly Provocative’ with Potential Nuclear Tests

'They have the capability to conduct these tests that make it very difficult to determine' what they are doing


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed concern over North Korea's recent vow to perform its third nuclear test.

"We've made very clear to the North Koreans they have a choice between trying to become a member of the international family by negotiating a way to resolve the issues that concern the international community… Or to engage in this kind of provocative behavior, which in the end will do nothing other than jeopardize the hope for peace," Panetta said Thursday. 

Panetta appeared with General Dempsey to lift the ban on women from performing in combat roles when he was asked a question about North Korea's latest statements.