Gates To N. Korea: We Can Destroy Missile

Defense Secretary Robert Gates points to the audience while speaking to the U.S. Army War College student body and faculty, Thursday, April 16, 2009, in the Bliss Hall Auditorium in Carlisle, Pa. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expressing confidence that the United States can shoot down any North Korean missile fired toward America.

Gates told U.S. lawmakers at a hearing Tuesday that the U.S. would have a "high probability of being able to defend ourselves" if the North fired a long-range missile.

He says U.S. missile interceptors "are fully adequate to protect us from the North Korean threat for a number of years."

He says that if the North Korean "threat" should change, the United States could easily expand its missile interceptor force.

North Korea has announced that it tested a nuclear device and is apparently assembling for a long-range missile test.


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