US secretary of Defense Ashton Carter warns to take down all North Korea’s potentially forthcoming test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), if the missile threatened the United States or its allies.
On Sunday, Carter said in a remark on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’: “[The United States] would shoot them down, and that is use an interceptor for that purpose if [a test-flown ICBM] was threatening, that is if it was coming towards our territory or the territory of our friends and allies.”
He said the United States would not try to shoot down an ICBM test that was projected to land in the ocean.
The US military would want to gather intelligence from the missile’s flight instead of intercepting it, Carter said on Tuesday.
The US secretary’s remarks follow President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter comments on North Korea’s ambitions saying a nuclear missile that could reach the US “won’t happen”.
On Sunday, North Korean state news agency KCNA quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying that a missile “will be launched anytime and anywhere” as determined by Pyongyang, despite efforts by the US to contain them.
Earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had claimed in his New Year’s Day address that his country had reached the final stages in developing a long-range nuclear missile.