Commander defends move to delay missile test, says US can defend against NK launch
Published April 09, 2013
The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific on Tuesday defended the decision to delay a key missile test, saying the U.S. has already demonstrated its capabilities to North Korea and suggesting there's no need to further inflame tensions with an "unpredictable" leader.
Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, stressed that the U.S. has a "credible ability" to intercept any missile launch from North Korea -- as the regime reportedly prepares for a launch as early as Wednesday.
But Locklear voiced concern that North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un is "more unpredictable" than his late father Kim Jong Il. "His father and his grandfather always figured into their provocation cycle an off-ramp of how to get out of it," he said. "And it's not clear to me he has thought through how to get out of it."
Locklear was questioned earlier Tuesday on the delay of an intercontinental ballistic missile test by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., at a Capitol Hill hearing. Levin said he was "puzzled" by the move to put off the long-scheduled test. The decision to do so was confirmed over the weekend by military officials.
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