US Prepared to Shoot Down North Korea Satellite Missile

March 1st, 2009 - by admin

Martha Raddatz & Lauren Sher / ABC News & Hyung-Jin Kim / Associated Press – 2009-03-01 21:17:53

US Ready to Respond to N.Korea Missile
Admiral Keating Tells ABC News
US Prepared to Shoot Down Missile
If Obama Gives OK

Martha Raddatz & Lauren Sher / ABC News

(February 26, 2009)— In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, Adm. Timothy Keating, head of the US Pacific Commands, said that the military is prepared to shoot down any North Korean ballistic missile — if President Obama should give the order.

“If a missile leaves the launch pad we’ll be prepared to respond upon direction of the president,” Keating told ABC News. “I’m not a betting man but I’d go like 60/40, 70/30 that it will, they will attempt to launch a satellite. There’s equipment moving up there that would indicate the preliminary stages of preparation for a launch. So I’d say it’s more than less likely.”

“Should it look like it’s not a satellite launch — that it’s something other than a satellite launch — we’ll be ready to respond.”

Intelligence reports suggest that North Korea is preparing a long-range missile test. Earlier this week, North Korea announced its plans to send a satellite into orbit as part of its space program.

However, many in the international community assert that North Korea’s satellite test is simply a means of concealing a long-range missile test — a move that would flare existing tension in the region.

Keating said that the military is ready to respond with at least five different systems: destroyer, Aegis cruiser, radar, space-based system and ground-based interceptor. All of these work in conjunction with one another to protect against any missile threat.

Destroyers are fast, multi-purpose warships that can be used in almost any type of naval operation. They would likely play a defensive role, helping to repel an air attack and offering a platform for gunfire and missiles to hit airborne objects.

The Aegis cruiser is part of the Navy’s computer-based command and control system that integrates radar and missiles to fight against land, air and sea attacks. For Keating, the Aegis combat system can tracks threats and counter any short- or medium-range missiles.

Radars vary in type and design, but the military would likely employ a range of sea-based and early warning radars to detect the presence of a North Korean missile, track warheads’ movement and more easily home in on the position of a missile to knock it down.

Space-based infrared system is a defense system that provides warning of any missile launches, detecting the threat and employing other tools to obliterate it.

Ground-based interceptor is a weapon that seeks and destroys incoming ballistic missiles outside of the earth’s atmosphere. Its sensors give the military the ability to locate and obliterate a North Korean missile.

“We will be fully prepared to respond as the president directs,” Keating said. “Everything that we need to be ready is ready. So that’s ready twice in one sentence, but we’re not kidding, it doesn’t take much for us to be fully postured to respond.”

Missile Launch a ‘Stern Test’ of Obama
In the US arsenal is a “very sophisticated and complex, but effective ballistic missile-defense system,” Keating says, which would provide a line of attack against any kind of ballistic missile or warhead that springs from a North Korean launch pad.

Ground-based interceptors, he says, will be able to take down an object other than a satellite. And while they have not moved ships into place yet, Keating says he is prepared to do so at a moment’s notice.

Experts say that North Korea’s announcement of its satellite launch is an attempt to put Pyongyang on President Obama’s radar.

“It’s a fairly stern test early of President Obama and his administration,” Keating said.

Members of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of [North] Korea, a state body, chastised critics Thursday, saying it would retaliate against those who attempt to disrupt its satellite plan. Keating says the US military is keeping a close eye on the launch pad, but does not want to jump the gun.

“We’re intentionally being a little more cautious and a little more reserved as to not stimulate unnecessary activity in North Korea,” he said. “We want to do no harm, if you will.”

Nevertheless, Keating says that his priority first and foremost is defending the United States.

“If that means we detect a missile that is a threat to US territory, then we are going to defend US territory. And [if] we hit what we’re aiming at that should be a source of great confidence and reassurance to our allies and partners.”

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Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

North Korea Lashes out Over Missile-Test Warnings
North Korea threatens to punish critics amid fears of its long-range missile test

Hyung-Jin Kim / Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (February 26, 2009) — North Korea lashed out at critics warning it not to test a long-range missile, saying Thursday that it would punish those trying to disrupt its plan to send what it calls a satellite into orbit.

The latest harsh words from Pyongyang came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced plans to send her new envoy on North Korea to meet with negotiators in Asia trying to revive stalled nuclear disarmament talks.

North Korea announced earlier this week that it was preparing to shoot a communication satellite into orbit as part of it space program. The U.S., South Korea and other neighboring countries believe the launch may be a cover for a missile test-fire, saying the action would trigger international sanctions.

On Thursday, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of (North) Korea accused South Korea of “trumpeting about ‘sanctions'” against its satellite launch, saying outsiders will know “what will soar in the air in the days ahead.”

“If the puppet warmongers infringe upon our inviolable dignity even a bit … we will not only punish the provokers but reduce their stronghold to debris,” the committee said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Kim Myong Gil, minister to the North’s U.N. mission in New York, also told reporters in Atlanta on Thursday that his country would implement “the satellite launch as scheduled,” saying timing of its launch remains to be seen, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. The report said Kim was in Atlanta to take part in an international academic forum.

Analysts say the North’s planned launch is seen as a bid for President Barack Obama’s attention as international talks on its nuclear programs remained stalled for months and tensions with South Korea are at their highest level in a decade.

Rodger Baker, director of East Asia analysis at STRATFOR, a global intelligence company, said the launch of the Taepodong-2 will most likely take place around the first week in March, around the time of elections for the North’s rubber-stamp parliament.

The long-range Taepodong-2 missile is believed capable of reaching Alaska. Some experts think the North is preparing to test an advanced version that could reach the western continental U.S.

Baker said that North Korea’s missile capability was “fairly sophisticated” given the country’s isolation and lack of access to technology.
“They are really good with short-range and anti-ship missiles, mostly those they’ve modified from Soviet and Chinese missiles,” Baker told The Associated Press.

Clinton announced Thursday that envoy Stephen Bosworth would soon travel to the capitals of four countries that have been working with Washington to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program — Russia, Japan, China and South Korea.

Bosworth, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, was named last week as the Obama administration’s special representative for North Korea.

South Korea’s Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported Thursday that North Korea has built an underground fueling facility near its launch pad, making it harder for spy satellites to detect signs that a missile is being prepared for launch.

Associated Press writers Kwang-tae Kim in Seoul, Pamela Hess in Washington, Carley Petesch in New York and Anita Chang in Beijing contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.