(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon says the U.S. military played no role whatsoever in the failure of North Korea’s missile test Thursday.
“I can say categorically that the United States military did not play a role in the failure of this launch,” Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little said.
Asked by reporters if there may have been any U.S. activities beyond the military that might have brought down the missile, Little said, “I am unaware of any U.S. role whatsoever in bringing down the missile.” He added, “to my knowledge this is a North Korean failed missile launch.”
According to Little, “initial indications are that it certainly failed in stage two. We need to look over time, and experts are studying this right now, is precisely what happened along the trajectory. I don’t have that full picture to provide at this stage. ”
In the wake of the failed launch, the U.S. has chosen to refer to the rocket the North Koreans labeled the Unha 3 as a TaePoDong 2.
Little confirmed that “it was the U.S. government’s collective judgment that we could designate this a TaePoDong 2 missile.” Does that mean the U.S. believes the failed launch was a military launch? Little said, “We are calling this a provocative act and the TaePoDong 2 missile is something the North Koreans have obviously tried to launch in the past.”
Does the succession of failed military launches imply that the U.S. should reassess the threat posed by North Korea’s missile technology?
Little said the U.S. treats North Korean missile launches “very seriously” but American concerns go beyond their missile capabilities. He added that the missile launches did not paint a complete picture about the range of North Korean capabilities, “so we have to be vigilant here and not reach conclusions too soon about where they might be headed.”
The U.S. wasn’t discounting future North Korean missile advances despite failures that show they have a “ways to go with their capabilities,” he said.
Little said he could not confirm that North Korea is planning to conduct a nuclear test, but “we certainly hope they don’t under take any additional provocative acts.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN