U.S. Admiral Taking Threat of North Korean ICBMs Seriously

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Nov. 6, 2013, 5:02 a.m.

The com­mand­er of U.S. mil­it­ary forces in the Pa­cific on Tues­day said he takes the threat of North Korea’s work on stra­tegic bal­list­ic mis­siles ser­i­ously, re­gard­less of their cur­rent cap­ab­il­it­ies.

Py­ongy­ang thus far has re­vealed two de­vel­op­ment­al in­ter­con­tin­ent­al-bal­list­ic mis­siles. The older of the two, the Tae­podong 2, had its first suc­cess­ful test-launch nearly a year ago while the new­er one, the road-mo­bile KN-08, has nev­er been flight-tested.

“For our mil­it­ary plan­ning per­spect­ive, when I see the KN-08 road mo­bile mis­siles that ap­pear in a North Korean mil­it­ary parade, I am bound to take that ser­i­ous, but  for not only the pen­in­sula but also the re­gion, as well as my own home­land,” U.S. Pa­cific Com­mand head Navy Ad­mir­al Samuel Lock­lear said in re­marks re­por­ted on by the Yon­hap News Agency.

West­ern mis­sile ex­perts are di­vided about just how far along Py­ongy­ang is in its de­vel­op­ment of the KN-08, however they agree the mockups dis­played at a Ju­ly parade were more real­ist­ic than ver­sions seen a year earli­er.

In re­marks to journ­al­ists at the Wash­ing­ton For­eign Press Cen­ter, the ad­mir­al said North Korea wants Wash­ing­ton to think it has the abil­ity to carry out ICBM strikes on the con­tin­ent­al United States.

“Wheth­er they are real or not, or wheth­er they have the cap­ab­il­ity or not, [the] North Korean re­gime wants us to think they do and so we plan for that” Lock­lear was quoted as say­ing by the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Mean­while, A high-rank­ing an­onym­ous South Korean of­fi­cial on Tues­day told Yon­hap that while China’s re­cent pro­pos­al for a path to re­ju­ven­at­ing nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­ations with North Korea was “for­ward-look­ing,” it did not go far enough in resolv­ing U.S. and South Korean con­cerns. Seoul and Wash­ing­ton are re­luct­ant to re­turn to the frozen ne­go­ti­ations un­less Py­ongy­ang first demon­strates a con­crete com­mit­ment to de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion.

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