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2008/12/19 05:52 KST
(LEAD) N. Korea has ballistic missiles in range of U.S. mainland: U.S. admiral

By Hwang Doo-hyong
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea possesses long-range ballistic missiles than can reach the mainland United States as well as Hawaii, Admiral Timothy Keating of the U.S. Pacific Command said Thursday.

"North Korea, I think, does have intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the United States," Keating said in a news conference at the National Press Building here. "Remember, that would include Hawaii and territories of the United States in our area of responsibility in the Pacific. So, yes, I think they do have that capability."
The admiral, however, said that his command is "prepared to deal with that eventuality should it -- that situation present itself. By increased capabilities in ballistic missile defense, we in the United States Pacific Command are more prepared to address that issue should it develop."
North Korea test-fired a long-range missile in 2006 for the second time after a similar one in 1998 amid conflicting reports about the success of the tests.