MARTHA RADDATZ and LAUREN SHER
Friday, Feb 27, 2009
In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, Adm. Timothy Keating, head of the U.S. Pacific Commands, said that the military is prepared to shoot down any North Korean ballistic missile — if President Obama should give the order.
“If a missile leaves the launch pad we’ll be prepared to respond upon direction of the president,” Keating told ABC News. “I’m not a betting man but I’d go like 60/40, 70/30 that it will, they will attempt to launch a satellite. There’s equipment moving up there that would indicate the preliminary stages of preparation for a launch. So I’d say it’s more than less likely.”
“Should it look like it’s not a satellite launch — that it’s something other than a satellite launch — we’ll be ready to respond.”
Intelligence reports suggest that North Korea is preparing a long-range missile test. Earlier this week, North Korea announced its plans to send a satellite into orbit as part of its space program.
However, many in the international community assert that North Korea’s satellite test is simply a means of concealing a long-range missile test — a move that would flare existing tension in the region.