U.S. Condemns North Korean Ballistic Missile Launch
The United States strongly condemns North Korea’s weekend ballistic missile launch and its other recent attempts and will take all necessary measures to deter and defeat threats to U.S. and ally territories and citizens, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today.
Davis said that on Feb. 11 at 5:55 p.m. EST, U.S. Strategic Command detected and tracked what was assessed as a North Korean missile launch of a probable intermediate-range ballistic missile.
“[The launch] occurred near the North Korean northwestern city of Kusong and it flew roughly due east out into the Sea of Japan about 500 kilometers [more than 310 miles],” Davis said, adding that the missile landed in international waters.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile launch did not pose a threat to North America,” he said. “We also worked very quickly with our Japanese and South Korean allies to make sure it did not pose a threat to them either.”
The captain said the United States maintains capabilities to respond quickly and intercept missiles from North Korea if they do pose a threat to the nation or its allies.
“There are multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions that explicitly prohibit North Korea’s launches using ballistic missile technology,” Davis said.
‘Unlawful Weapons Programs’
“North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to our national security,” he added. “North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan. Our commitment to the defense of our allies, especially the Republic of Korea and Japan in the face of these threats is ironclad.”
Davis said based on a public video North Korea reportedly released, the rocket’s bright, white emissions is indicative of North Korea’s use of solid fuel in the launch.
The missile also is very similar to what the North Koreans have launched from their submarines in the past, the spokesman said, adding that the Feb. 11 launch appears to be a land-based variation of past launches.
“[Such launches from North Korea are] all serious,” Davis said. “This is a program they are moving forward on to try to develop this capability, and they’ve been doing it in defiance of multiple resolutions and actions to try to get them to stop. They are very open and transparent about their desire to build this capability, and we are open about our ability to defeat it.”
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)