US general confident North Korean missile can be intercepted

Posted April 16, 2017

North Korea conducted its fourth missile test this year Wednesday morning by launching a projectile from the eastern port city of Sinpo in South Hamgyong Province at around 6:42 a.m., which peaked at an altitude of 189 kilometers (117 miles) and flew 60 kilometers for nine minutes before landing in the East Sea, according to the JCS.

The Pentagon can defend against any North Korean missile threat, but Pyongyang's rapidly evolving weapons program is shrinking the warning time ahead of a launch, a top United States general said on Thursday.

In a separate phone conversation between South Korea's National Security Council Chairman Kim Kwan-jin and U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, the two countries agreed to to seek ways to strengthen sanctions against North Korea for its missile test, according to a presidential Blue House statement Thursday.

Following North Korea's test of four missiles last month, Trump affirmed Washington's "ironclad commitment" to Japan and South Korea.

The greatest threat would come from an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, and Hyten testified the North Koreans are closing in on one.

Air Force General John Hyten told a Senate panel this week that "North Korea is not an existential threat", but he did say the country is "the most unsafe and unpredictable actor in the Pacific region".

The US on Friday fired missiles at a military base in Syria, and Trump has suggested such military action could be a signal to North Korea as well.

Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program is likely to dominate when Trump meets China's leader on Thursday, their first face to face meeting.

Trump, Xi converge on currency, Syria as US-China ties warm
Meanwhile, in response to the increased tensions in the region, the US has responded by sending an aircraft carrier group close to the Korean peninsula.

"We are now certain it was a liquid-fueled Scud", said a senior White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

But he also said the missile launch was hard to understand because North Korea benefits from the US and China being at odds with one another.

Photos taken by the club's patrons and later posted on Facebook captured Japanese and US officials responding in real-time to the incident, sparking criticism about why such important meetings were not conducted in a more secure location.

A man watches a TV news program showing a file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

"There was a test firing of a Hyunmoo-type ballistic missile with a range of 800 km at the Anheung test site of the Agency for Defence Development", an informed source said.

According to the FT, Trump said the US could "totally" handle the situation in North Korea without assistance from the Chinese, but he declined to go into specifics.

Trump has said the United States is prepared to go it alone in bringing Pyongyang to heel if China - North Korea's top ally - does not step in.

"We would have loved to see North Korea join the community of nations".