Skip to comments.Rumsfeld: N Korea not a military threat to South
Posted on 08/27/2006 3:28:26 PM PDT by jdm
FT. GREELY, Alaska (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Sunday said North Korea does not pose a military threat to South Korea, calling Pyongyang more a danger as a proliferator of weapons to other countries and perhaps terrorists.
"I think the real threat that North Korea poses in the immediate future is more one of proliferation than a danger to South Korea," he told reporters during a visit to a missile defense installation in Alaska.
"I don't see them, frankly, as an immediate military threat to South Korea," Rumsfeld said, noting South Korea's improved military capability as well as what the defense secretary described as a deteriorated condition of North Korea's forces.
Asked if North Korea's offensive missile capability is more of a threat to the United States than to South Korea, he said he did not know.
Rumsfeld's comments come weeks after North Korea test fired a long-range missile said capable of reaching the United States. That test, part of a series, seemed to fail shortly after launch but prompted the U.S. government to switch its limited missile defense system to operational status.
Rumsfeld's visit to Ft. Greely, home to one of America's interceptor installations, was due to be followed by a scheduled meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Rumsfeld said he would likely discuss missile defense and Iran with his Russian counterpart, but he would not offer details of the issues on the table.
The defense secretary said North Korea tests missiles to demonstrate their capabilities to potential buyers.
"They sell anything to anyone," he said.
"They sell our currency that they counterfeit. They're selling illegal drugs. They're selling basic missile technologies. There's not much they have that they wouldn't sell either to another country or possibly to a terrorist network."
While the head of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency has repeatedly said U.S. defenses could have shot down a North Korean missile, had it launched successfully, Rumsfeld would not make the same assertion.
He said he would wait to see the fledgling missile defense system work instead of predicting success.
"I want to see it happen ... a full end-to-end process where we actually put all the pieces together. That just hasn't happened," he said.
The United States has spent more than $92 billion on its missile defense system. Tests continue, with another expected on Thursday.
In that exercise, a missile will launch from Alaska and an interceptor will launch from California to test the "kill vehicle," the barrel-shaped device that destroys an oncoming warhead by colliding with it. One official on the program said a hit was not one of the goals of next week's test.
President George W. Bush in 2002 announced the United States would begin operating the initial elements of a missile defense system by the end of 2004 to defend against a limited attack from a country like North Korea or Iran.
Since then, U.S. missile defense spending has risen to nearly $10 billion a year, the Pentagon's single biggest annual outlay to develop a weapons system.
Intercept-test failures and technical glitches have delayed development, although commanders said it has a rudimentary capability against a limited attack if ground-based interceptors are put on alert.
I would hope so....if a Dem said this...we'd be calling him/her a stupid POS who has their collective heads up their arse.....well alot of FReepers would be....I hope that headline is wrong....
North Korea will kill a lot of people, but lose in the end of an all-out war.
Considering how the South appeases the North, such a war is very unlikely.
The North is more likely to attack Japan as that country is rightly realizing now.
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