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. (Read more North Korea stories.)