Trump missile defense review calls out N.Korea

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 17, 2019 - Duration: 02:24s

Trump missile defense review calls out N.Korea

President Donald Trump unveiled a revamped U.S. missile defense strategy on Thursday that called North Korea an ongoing and "extraordinary threat," seven months after he declared the threat posed by Pyongyang had been eliminated.

Nathan Frandino reports.

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Trump missile defense review calls out N.Korea

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "My first duty is the defense of our country." U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled a new missile defense strategy on Thursday that singles out North Korea as a major threat even as Trump tries to strike a nuclear deal with Kim Jong Un.

The Missile Defense Review - a sweeping look at efforts to shield the U.S. from missile attack - said quote: "While a possible new avenue to peace now exists with North Korea, it continues to pose an extraordinary threat and the United States must remain vigilant." The warning comes months after Trump said the missile and nuclear threats from Pyongyang had been eliminated.

Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan: (SOUNDBITE) (English) PATRICK SHANAHAN, ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY, SAYING: "While we are forging a new path to peace on the Korean peninsula, North Korea's missiles remain a significant concern." Trump kept his focus on the strategy's technical upgrades.

The plan includes additional ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely in Alaska, investing in new technology, and an expansion of space-based defense mechanisms. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Our strategy is grounded in one overriding objective: to detect and destroy every type of missile attack, against any American target whether before or after launch." The push into experimental technology includes space-based weaponry that may be able to shoot down enemy missiles.

It's a throwback to Ronald Reagan's so-called 'Star Wars' initiative from the 1980s.

The missile review says space sensors would aim to "help get early warning and tracking" of missiles when they're launched.

The review is coming at an awkward moment for Trump.

He's trying to push North Korea to get rid of its nuclear stockpile.

Three officials from the North are expected in Washington this week, looking for a way forward to a second summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

The report also warns of threats from the nation's other nuclear adversaries.

Saying U.S. missile defenses aren't enough to counter a first strike from China and Russia... China, like Russia, has made advances in hypersonic technology - that could mean missiles that travel in excess of 4,000 mph.

That's set off alarm bells in the Pentagon since such missiles would be harder to detect in flight.

However, U.S. officials believe sensors in space could help find missiles moving at those super-fast speeds and destroy them before they approach the U.S.

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