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U.S. congressman calls for shooting down N.K. ICBM

All Headlines 03:57 April 11, 2017

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Yonhap) -- The United States should be prepared to shoot down a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile in the event the communist regime test-fires one as threatened, a U.S. congressman said Monday.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) made the remark in an interview with CNN as tensions on the Korean Peninsula are running high with the U.S. sending an aircraft carrier strike group to the waters off the divided peninsula to guard against North Korean provocations.

"That battle carrier group has been in the region before. I think Kim Jong-un, he has the ability to kill hundreds of thousands of people right now in South Korea with the push of a button. He will stop at nothing to have an intercontinental ballistic missile," Hurd said.

"We have to ask ourselves, what are we going to do when we see a potential test of an ICBM? Are we going to try to shoot that ICBM down? Are we going to let the test go on unimpeded? These are some of the questions that should be asked when it comes to Korea," he said.

U.S. congressman calls for shooting down N.K. ICBM - 1

Concerns about North Korean nuclear and missile threats have deepened in the U.S. since Kim threatened in his New Year's Day address that the country is ready to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile, apparently capable of reaching the U.S.

Hurd said that China holds the key to the North Korea problem.

"This is a real opportunity for the U.S. and China to have true security cooperation when it comes to North Korea. The Chinese have to recognize that Kim Jong-un is more of a problem to Chinese security than a U.S.-South Korea alliance," he said.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) also said China is the only nation capable of influencing the North's calculus.

"Obviously, the only way to change the equation in North Korea is if China will exert more pressure on North Korea, on the commerce side," he said on MSNBC.

U.S. President Donald Trump had hoped to use his first summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping last Friday to get Beijing to use more of its leverage as the main food and energy provider for the North to rein in the regime.

But the summit ended up only with an agreement to increase cooperation on the issue.

China has been reluctant to use its influence over Pyongyang for fear that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and even its collapse that could lead to the emergence of a pro-U.S. nation next door.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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