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U.S. strategic commander: Missile defense key to defending against N.K. threats

All News 04:01 January 23, 2016

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- Ballistic missile defense is among key strategic deterrent capabilities necessary to cope with threats from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, the U.S. strategic commander said Friday.

"Our missile defense efforts are also part of our strategic deterrent kitbag, if you will, and it's very important. We just look at what happened on the 5th of January, Kim Jong-un testing a nuclear weapon," Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Success of that is still under question or not, but we know it was a test and this is we know the appetite of that country, that leadership in moving in that direction. So I think it's important for us to be able to have that kind of capability in order to address where we know North Korea wants to go," he said.

Haney also said it's an understatement to say North Korea's behavior has been "anything but problematic."

"Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea continues to heighten tensions by coupling provocative statements and actions with advancement in strategic capabilities, claims of miniaturized warheads and more recently claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test and developments in road-mobile and submarine-launched ballistic missile technologies," the commander said.

"These actions not only show a distinct disrespect for U.N. Security Council mandates, they show a lack of regard for regional stability," he said.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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