News / Asia

Gates Says North Korea Could Be a Threat to US Within 5 Years

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shakes hands with China's President Hu Jintao, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 11 Jan 2011.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shakes hands with China's President Hu Jintao, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 11 Jan 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says North Korea will likely have a missile that can reach the United States within five years, and his talks in Beijing this week were aimed in part at getting China to help put the Pyongyang government "on a different path."  Gates wants North Korea to declare a moratorium on further testing of its most dangerous weapons.

Secretary Gates told reporters he shared this concern with Chinese officials.

"With the North Koreans continuing development of nuclear weapons and their development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, North Korea is becoming a direct threat to the United States and we have to take that into account," he said.

Gates said any capability for a North Korean missile attack on the United States will be "very limited" in five years, but he said it is still cause for concern.

"I think it is the combination of the continuing nuclear programs but also the progress that they are making with the intercontinental ballistic missiles," said Gates. "I don’t think it is an immediate threat, no, but on the other hand I don’t think it is a five-year threat."

Secretary Gates said North Korea could demonstrate its sincerity as it now seeks renewed talks with the South by declaring a moratorium on missile and nuclear testing.

He said he discussed North Korea with all the Chinese officials he met with in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday, including President Hu Jintao. He said he did not ask for specific action, but did ask for help. China has more influence on North Korea than any other country, but even Chinese officials appear to have been frustrated with the country’s unpredictable leaders in recent months. Gates praised Chinese efforts to help ease tensions after two North Korean attacks, one on a South Korean ship and another on an island.

Gates’ statement that North Korea will be able to directly threaten the United States raises concerns about the country’s high-technology weapons and unpredictable leadership to a new level. Gates called the situation on the Korean Peninsula a "real concern," and said "there is some urgency" to moving ahead with negotiations. In addition to the emerging threat to the United States, he said South Koreans are losing patience, and another North Korean attack would bring pressure for a reaction by the Seoul government. 


You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid