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N. Korean missiles and cyber capabilities pose threats to U.S.: generals

All News 23:20 April 20, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, April 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea continues to pose threats to the United States both in real life and cyberspace, top U.S. military officials said Tuesday.

They also said the North continues to engage in activities that threaten regional security and defy international norms.

"North Korea remains a security challenge to the United States and our allies. It continues conducting activities that threaten regional stability and defy international norms," said Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command.

"North Korea has tested ICBMs designed to strike the entire continental United States and has a large inventory of theater ballistic missiles," he added in a written statement submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Richard testified before the Senate committee on the defense budget request for fiscal year 2022, along with Gen. James Dickinson, commander of the U.S. Space Command.

These captured images from the website of the U.S. Defense Department show Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, and Gen. James Dickinson, commander of the U.S. Space Command, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Command in Washington on April 20, 2021. (Yonhap)

Gen. Dickinson said North Korea also posed threats to U.S. space operations with its cyberattack capabilities.

"Iran and North Korea continue to advance their own counter-space threats through cyberattacks, jamming, and electronic warfare," he said in his own written statement.

"North Korea also maintains a threat to space operations through its electronic warfare capabilities, with an emphasis on deception operations and GPS jamming. The technology to evolve and mature their cyberattack capabilities continues to improve, along with their ability to develop more advanced long-range missile launch systems," the Army general added.

Dickinson insisted the U.S. must continue to invest and develop its own capabilities to stay ahead of such adversaries.

"One way that these less developed adversaries seek to leapfrog or negate our advantages is by leveraging commercially available capabilities," he wrote.

"These capabilities provide them with partially effective military support that helps them to navigate, gather intelligence, communicate, and otherwise achieve competencies that until very recently were the exclusive purview of more advanced space powers."

Adm. Richard said the U.S. will continues to work with allies to denuclearize North Korea diplomatically.

"USSTRATCOM supports DoD and State Department efforts to coordinate with regional partners, reduce military tensions, and engage diplomatic efforts towards achieving the complete denuclearization of North Korea," he said.

President Joe Biden has requested US$753 billion in discretionary defense spending for fiscal year 2022, which, if accepted by Congress, would mark a 1.7 percent increase from this year.

The amount does not include non-discretionary spending, and the U.S. administration is expected to submit a full budget proposal later in the year.


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