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Pentagon says it can protect US, allies from N. Korean missile threats

WASHINGTON: The US Defence Department, reacting to North Korea’s statement that it plans to test an intercontinental ballistic missile, said on Tuesday it was confident in its ability to protect US allies and the US homeland from threats from Pyongyang.

“We have a ballistic missile defence … umbrella that we’re confident in for the region and to protect the United States homeland,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told a news briefing two days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country was close to testing an ICBM.

US president-elect Donald Trump’s “clear warning” to North Korea shows he is also aware of the urgency of the threat posed by its nuclear programme and will not waver from a policy of sanctions against the isolated country, South Korea said on Tuesday. Trump dismissed the claim, saying on Twitter: “It won’t happen.” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Trump’s comment, his first mention of the North Korean nuclear issue since the US election in November, could be interpreted as a “clear warning” to the North.

“Because of our active outreach, president-elect Trump and US officials are clearly aware of the gravity and urgency of the North Korean nuclear threat,” ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said at a briefing.

“They are maintaining an unwavering stance on the need for sanctions on North Korea and for close cooperation between South Korea and the US” Trump has not outlined a policy on North Korea but during the US election campaign indicated he would be willing to talk its leader, Kim, given the opportunity.

Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway told ABC’s “Good Morning America” program that the president-elect was “putting North Korea on notice through this tweet and through other statements that this won’t happen.”

“He as president of the United States wants to stand between them and their missile capabilities, which experts say could be deployed to reach Seattle almost immediately,” Conway said.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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