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North Korea’s threats to attack the United States have been described as ‘unhelpful rhetoric’ by the White House, but they have not been totally dismissed.
The commander of American forces in the Pacific was asked by Senator John McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee if the US could defend itself.
Admiral Samuel Locklear replied: “I believe we have the credible ability to defend the homeland, to defend Hawaii, to defend Guam, to defend our forward deployed forces and defend our allies.”
Senator John McCain went on: “Do we have the capability to intercept a missile if the North Koreans launch within the next several days?”
“We do,” Locklear answered.
The admiral described North Korea’s Kim Jong-un as “an impetuous young leader”.
The United States has moved a land-based interception system to Guam in the Pacific and two missile defence ships have been sent closer to the Korean peninsula.