A US general has admitted he was partly at fault for incorrect news reports that US special forces have been infiltrating communist North Korea.
The US military previously blamed media representatives covering a Florida conference addressed by Brigadier General Neil Tolley, commander of special forces in South Korea.
But Tolley, in a statement late Wednesday, acknowledged he "should have been clearer" in his comments to the conference last month and had not been misquoted.
Current affairs magazine The Diplomat quoted Tolley as saying soldiers from the US and South Korea had been dropped across the border for "special reconnaissance" of North Korean tunnels.
The US military, which bases 28,500 troops in South Korea, denies it has ever sent special forces into North Korea.
Tolley said his comments at a Special Operations Forces Industry Conference were intended "to provide some context for potential technical solutions to our unique requirements" in South Korea.
"In my attempt to explain where technology could help us, I spoke in the present tense. I realise I wasn't clear in how I presented my remarks, leaving the opportunity for some in the audience to draw the wrong conclusions," he said in the statement.
"To be clear, at no time have we sent special operations forces into North Korea."