Friday, January 14, 2011

US able to destroy North Korea missiles

WASHINGTON — The United States would be able to destroy North Korea’s long-range missile capabilities if it decides they pose too great a threat, the top US general in South Korea said in an interview released Thursday.

The comments come after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit this week to North Korea’s main ally China, warned that Pyongyang was expected to be able to hit the continental United States within five years.

“What we have to be prepared to do is to be able to, number one, deter. But if deterrence doesn’t work, be prepared to respond,” General Walter Sharp, commander of the US forces in Korea, told the “PBS Newshour” on US public television.
Asked if the United States could destroy North Korea missile sites if it chose to, Sharp said: “The alliance has that, that capability to be able to do that.”

US General Walter Sharp , commander of the US Forces in Korea, visits a damaged area of Yeonpyeong island, November 26, 2010.

North Korea has test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles, most recently in April 2009 when one flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific.

Diplomacy with North Korea has been at a standstill, with the United States insisting that the communist state honor its previous commitments under six-nation talks to give up nuclear weapons.
Tensions soared on the Korean peninsula in 2010, when North Korean forces were accused of torpedoing a South Korean vessel and shelling a civilian area. (AFP)
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