U.S. military says it can counter new North Korean missile threat
The U.S. military assured Americans on Wednesday that it was capable of defending the United States against any threat from North Korea's newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which Pyongyang says can carry a large nuclear warhead, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Taking a major step in its missile program, North Korea on Tuesday test-launched an ICBM, which some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska and the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
The test, the first of its kind by North Korea, led to the United States, Japan and South Korea requesting an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT). The council is currently chaired by China.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis noted a successful test last month in which a U.S.-based missile interceptor knocked down a simulated incoming North Korean ICBM.
"So we do have confidence in our ability to defend against the limited threat, the nascent threat that is there," he told reporters. He acknowledged though that previous U.S. missile defense tests had shown "mixed results."
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the ICBM test completed his country's strategic weapons capability that also includes atomic and hydrogen bombs, the state KCNA news agency said.
Pyongyang will not negotiate with the United States to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its hostile policy against the North, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
"He, with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the U.S. would be displeased ... as it was given a 'package of gifts' on its 'Independence Day'," KCNA said.
Kim ordered them to "frequently send big and small 'gift packages' to the Yankees," it added.
The missile test is a direct challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump who has been urging China, North Korea's main trading partner and only major ally, to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program.
Diplomats say Beijing has not been fully enforcing existing international sanctions on its neighbor, and has resisted tougher measures, such as an oil embargo, bans on the North Korean airline and guest workers, and measures against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with the North.
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