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Military chief: Worst-case scenario for North Korea launch is U.S. strike

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that the worst-case scenario for North Korea's upcoming satellite launch is if it's "not a space launch."

Navy Adm. James "Sandy" A. Winnefeld Jr. said that the worst-case scenario would be if North Korea launched a warhead toward the United States, although he thought that was unlikely.

He said it was more likely the North Koreans launch a satellite into space, although Western and South Korean officials suspect the launch is a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test, which North Korea is banned from conducting by the U.N.

A long-range missile fired from North Korea would be able to hit some parts of the U.S., among other nations,

Speaking at a forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday, Adm. Winnefeld said defense officials are monitoring the launch and will "deal with it as it comes."

"We're certainly going to monitor it. We've not increased force levels, but it's certainly something that we're going to monitor," according to a military official Thursday.

North Korea says it will launch the rocket in the next few days.

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