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President Donald Trump said South Korea is ‘as reassured as they can feel’ following threats issued this week between the White House and North Korea. (August 11)
AP

For all the war-like rhetoric between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, neither country is taking action on the ground that matches the scary talk.

The Pentagon said it has not deployed additional ships, aircraft or troops in response to North Korea’s announcement this week that it plans to launch four missiles into the waters off the coast of Guam, which has a large U.S. military installation.

Likewise, North Korea has not announced that it was placing its military on heightened alert, as it has at times in the past, or mobilizing reservists in response to Trump’s repeated vows to unleash a furious attack of unprecedented proportions on the country should it take any aggressive actions.

Nor has U.S. ally South Korea made any announcements about mobilizing its troops.

“There is little verbal restraint but a great deal of true military restraint,” said Bruce Bennett, an analyst at Rand Corporation, a think tank.

The decision by the Pentagon not to move forces in the region — or at least publicize any actions — may be designed to lessen the chances of a miscalculation at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea’s apparent breakthrough in developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

Avoiding a show of U.S. military force could also signal to North Korea that war is not imminent so it doesn’t feel threatened and lash out.

“If Kim Jong Un believes his regime is threatened … that could cause war,” said David Maxwell, associate director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies.

The U.S. military has enough forces near the Korean Peninsula — including Navy ships, 28,000 troops in South Korea and combat aircraft — to respond quickly even without additional movements.

“Our state of readiness hasn’t changed,” said Marine Capt. Cassandra Gesecki, a spokeswoman for U.S. Pacific Command. “We always maintain a high state of readiness.”

In the past, the Pentagon has made shows of force designed to send a message to the North Korean regime.

Last month, for example, the Air Force announced it had flown two B-1 bombers over South Korea in response to…