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U.S. currently has enough capabilities to counter N. Korean threat: Strategic Commander

03:24 August 27, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) -- The United States has enough capability, including missile interceptors, deployed to counter any threats emanating from North Korea at least for now, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said Thursday.

Adm. Charles Richard still highlighted the importance of an early warning system that he said can allow his country to do more with less.

"I am confident that, in the least now, that we have paced the threat," the Navy admiral said when asked if he thinks the U.S. has deployed enough interceptors to stay ahead of the threat posed by North Korea to the U.S. homeland.

Richard highlighted two "attributes" that he said are critical to addressing the threat and inserting "doubt on aggressors' mind" that their plan may not work.

"The first thing that I think we need to address is warning: our ability to warn birth-to-death track such that we can re-posture, or if we don't think we can, can we re-posture such that we account for that," he said in a webinar hosted by the Washington-based Hudson Institute think tank.

"My point being is warning and posture are related. The more you have of one allows changes in the other and vice versa," he added.

Adm. Charles Richard (L), commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, is seen speaking in a webinar hosted by the Hudson Institute on Aug. 26, 2021, in this image captured from the website of the Washington-based think tank. (Yonhap)

North Korea has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ballistic missile testing since late 2017, but leader Kim Jong-un has said that his country feels no longer bound by such restrictions.

Pyongyang has also threatened to make the U.S. and South Korea feel a "serious security crisis" that it claims they created by staging their annual joint military exercise this month.

Taylor insisted that missile defense is not ensured by a sheer number of deployed interceptors alone, but through integrated efforts and mechanisms.

"There is a broader class of things you can do inside a missile defeat construct that then has to be integrated with the other pieces that you're doing," said the strategic commander.

"And so getting a good common understanding of what the larger whole looks like, which commander is responsible for what, and then what is the optimum arrangement inside that to achieve our defensive objectives at the lowest total resource commitment, I think, is one where we are headed, but we have work to do," he added.

His remarks come as the U.S. continues to conduct an extensive global defense posture review, along with nuclear and missile posture reviews.

Taylor said the U.S. is closely communicating with its allies, such as South Korea and Japan, to solicit their input into its nuclear posture review.

"I had calls on senior Japanese leadership, senior South Korean leadership, and those mechanisms are working. Those nations, others of our allies through our Department of State, are providing their views to our nuclear posture review, and I think they will get full consideration inside, but they've made their positions very clear," he said.



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