US to intercept DPRK missile if threatened

Updated: 2013-04-10 03:47


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US to intercept DPRK missile if threatened

US Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear checks his notes before testifying at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the US Pacific Command and US Forces Korea in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2014 in Washington April 9, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - The US commander in charge of forces in the Asia Pacific region said Tuesday that if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launches a missile in the near future, he would recommend US forces shoot it down if US homeland, forward-deployed forces and allies were threatened.

At a Senate hearing, Samuel Locklear, commander of US Pacific Command, said if it was "in defense of the homeland... and if it was defense of our allies," he would recommend US forces shoot down DPRK missile, if the country launches one.

"I believe we have a credible ability to defend the homeland, to defend Hawaii, defend Guam, to defend our forward-deployed forces and defend our allies," said Locklear.

However, Locklear rejected the idea to shoot down a DPRK missile regardless of whether it poses a threat or what the intended target is, saying he "would not recommend that."

As tensions on the Korean Peninsula continues to rise, the US military has moved many missile-defense capabilities into the region, such as Aegis guided-missile destroyers USS John McCain and USS Decatur. A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System ( THAAD) will also be deployed to Guam.