White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

North Korea is prepared to launch a long range ballistic missile and the U.S. is capable of shooting it down.

Admiral Timothy Keating, who commands the US Pacific Command, said interceptor ships were ready “on a moment’s notice”.

“Should it look like it’s something other than a satellite launch, we will be fully prepared to respond as the president directs,” he added.

But the U.S. has said it has no intiontion of shooting down North Korea’s missile, according to the Obama Administration.

North Korea has gone to its highest state of military alert while South Korea and Japan have cancelled all airline flights near North Korea as tensions in North Asia are at their most tense in years….

“Whether they describe it as a satellite launch or something else makes no difference” since both would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution banning the North from ballistic activity, Stephen Bosworth told reporters after talks with his South Korean counterpart.

Related:
North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means


A U.S. Navy ship launches ballistic missile defense interceptors like those that could be used to counter North Korea’s long range missile launch….

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SEOUL, (AFP) – North Korea put its military on combat alert Monday as US and South Korean troops began a major joint exercise, and warned that any attempt to block its upcoming satellite launch would spark a war.

The communist state also severed its last communications channel with South Korea for the duration of the 12-day exercise by tens of thousands of troops, which Pyongyang has branded as a rehearsal for invasion.

The moves follow a threat last week against South Korean civilian airlines using the North’s airspace, forcing them to re-route flights.

The North Korean military described the exercises as “unprecedented in the number of the aggressor forces involved and in their duration.”

“The KPA Supreme Command issued an order to all service persons to be fully combat-ready,” it said in a statement on official media.

“A war will break out if the US imperialists and the warmongers of the South Korean puppet military hurl the huge troops and sophisticated strike means to mount an attack.”

The North, which tested an atomic weapon in 2006, said it was cutting off military phone and fax lines with South Korea during the drill as maintaining normal channels would be “nonsensical.”

This meant more than 700 people were unable to travel to a joint industrial complex at Kaesong just north of the border Monday, as South Koreans can only cross over with approval from the North via the military lines.

General Walter Sharp, head of US forces in South Korea, reiterated Monday that the exercise — involving an aircraft carrier, 26,000 US troops and more than 30,000 South Koreans — is an annual defensive training drill.

However, this year’s exercise comes at a time of high cross-border tension and growing pressure on the North to drop plans to fire a rocket.

North Korea says it is preparing to launch a satellite, but both Seoul and Washington believe the underlying purpose is to test a long-range Taepodong-2 missile that could in theory reach Alaska.

The North’s military General Staff warned it would retaliate “with prompt counter-strikes by the most powerful military means” it has to any attempt to intercept it.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090309/w
l_asia_afp/nkoreaskoreausmilitary_200903
09085936

Related:
Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

CNN on North Korea:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/03/08/nkorea.launch/index.html

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