Carter: N. Korea launch shows need for robust Pacific missile defense
June 22, 2016
FORT KNOX, Ky. — Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Wednesday that North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile shows the need to enhance missile defenses for all U.S. allies in the region.
The test Wednesday of the Musudan Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile was North Korea’s sixth launch of that weapon system and appeared to travel 250 miles before crashing into the sea between North Korea and Japan, according to the New York Times. The previous five missile launches had failed in much earlier stages of flight.
Carter said he could not assess whether the test indicated a successful launch.
“I don’t know what the test objectives were,” Carter said at a news conference. “In previous tests, it flew for such a short period of time ... It’s hard to believe that was the objective of the test. This one flew for a longer period.”
Either way, Carter said, the launch “shows the need for us to continue to do what we are doing, which is build missile defenses of various ranges to protect both our South Korean allies, U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and U.S. territory. Defenses for all of those, defenses oriented toward all of those.”
“No matter what this or that test went to do, in terms of time of flight, it doesn’t change the plans that we have ... We need to stay ahead of the threat.”