US might shoot down North Korea missile

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 09 2013 11:29 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2013 07:29 AM

WASHINGTON - A top US military commander said Tuesday he favored shooting down a North Korean missile only if it threatened the United States or Washington's allies in the region.

When asked by lawmakers if he supported knocking out any missile fired by North Korea, Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of US Pacific Command, said: "I would not recommend that."

But the four-star admiral said he would "certainly recommend" intercepting an incoming North Korean missile "if it was in defense of our allies" or the United States.

Amid widespread speculation North Korea could be preparing a missile launch, Locklear also said he was confident the US military would be able to detect quickly where any missile was headed.

"It doesn't take long for us to determine where it's going and where it's going to land," said Locklear, who oversees American forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

Japan said Tuesday it has deployed Patriot missiles in its capital as a pre-emptive measure.