U.S. capable of handling N. Korea threat

March 7, 2013 at 11:21 PM

WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- The United States is "fully capable" of dealing with any North Korean ballistic missile attack, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney, at his daily media briefing, was asked about the latest North Korean threat of a nuclear strike against the United States. The threat, one of several lately, came after the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 2094, further tightening its existing sanctions against the Communist country for its Feb. 12 nuclear test.

"I can tell you that the United States is fully capable of defending against any North Korean ballistic missile attack," Carney responded. "And our recent success in returning to testing of the upgraded version of the so-called GBI, or the CE2 missile, will keep us on a good trajectory to improve our defense capability against limited ballistic missile threats such as those from North Korea. But let's be clear, we are fully capable of dealing with that threat."

Referring to the U.N. resolution, Carney said the strength, breadth and severity of the sanctions show the Security Council takes North Korea's threat seriously.

He said the new resolution "increases North Korea's isolation and demonstrates to North Korea's leaders the increasing costs they pay for defying the international community."

Carney said the international community stands united in its commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and in its demand that North Korea comply with its international obligations.

At the U.S. State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the North Korean threat, which she termed as "bellicose rhetoric, is not surprising as it is not new, but added the United States is fully capable of defending against any ballistic missile attack. She said the United States is continuing to upgrade its ballistic missile defense capabilities.

She said Washington remains "firmly committed to the defense of the Republic of Korea [South Korea] and Japan and the maintenance of regional peace and security."

Nuland said in passing Resolution 2094, the international community had spoken with one voice.

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