Pacific Command: Testing US forces would be 'foolhardy'

Pacific Command: Testing US forces would be 'foolhardy'
© Getty Images

The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific region is warning America's enemies not to "test" its military readiness after a collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker off the coast of Japan.

Adm. Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), said at a news conference on Tuesday that the operational capabilities in the region remain strong despite four collisions between U.S. military vessels and civilian craft this year, according to a CNN report.

"Perception is in the eyes of the beholder, and I will hope that no one will test the U.S. on the perception that we've had a problem with USS John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Memo: Summit fallout hits White House Graham: Biggest problem is Trump ‘believes meddling equals collusion’ Obama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena MORE and three other assets — that would be a very foolhardy thing to do," Harris said. 

The guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a Malaysian oil tanker early Monday off the coast of Japan, injuring five sailors and leaving 10 missing. The Navy reported Tuesday that "some" of the remains of the missing sailors from the collision had been found in sealed compartments damaged in the crash. 

U.S. forces in the area are on high alert amid growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

Earlier this month, North Korea backed off a threat to fire missiles toward Guam, a U.S. territory, but in a statement warned the U.S. that leader Kim Jong Un could change his mind.

“If the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the restraint of the DPRK [North Korea], the [North] will make an important decision as it already declared,” North Korea's state media said.

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPentagon put in bind after Trump-Putin summit The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump eyes second Putin summit The Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington MORE responded to North Korea's threats by saying that any missile attack would mean "game on."

“If they shoot at the United States, I’m assuming they hit the United States. If they do that, it’s game on,” he said.