US Can Fend Off N. Korea Attack: White House

But South Korea, Japan may have more to worry about

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 8, 2013 9:05 AM CST

(Newser) – The White House's take on North Korea's threats against the US? Pshaw. The US is "fully capable of defending against" a North Korean ballistic missile attack, said press secretary Jay Carney yesterday. Though it's still in development, a US missile defense system known as the Ground-Based Interceptor is on a "good trajectory" amid testing, said Carney; it's designed to defend against long-range missiles. In East Asia, the US has deployed the land-based Patriot system and the sea-based Aegis systems, which are designed to intercept shorter-range missiles.

Noted the top US envoy on Pyongyang, per the AP: "We take all North Korean threats seriously enough to ensure that we have the correct defense posture to deal with any contingencies that might arise." But the picture may be a little more worrisome for South Korea and Japan, reports Reuters. The former noted in December that the North was capable of launching a "sudden and massive" attack on Seoul, which is located just 31 miles from the DMZ; further, both the South and Japan are well within the reach of the North's intermediate-range missiles. And while the North's 1.2 million soldiers would appear to trounce the South's 640,000, Reuters notes that the country's impoverished state renders it incapable of sustaining a ground battle.

Kim Jong Un, center, looks at the South's territory from an observation post in the southernmost part of the southwestern sector of North Korea's border with South Korea.   (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS)
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