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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

July 10, 2000
Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen

(En Route to Beijing, China)

Q: Do you believe that North Korea is going to have intercontinental ballistic missiles by 2005 or has any information come up that would make you question that time-frame?

Cohen: Well, they've indicated that they are not going to resume, for the time being at least, the testing of the longer range missiles. That could be either suspended or they could go forward, whatever they choose to do. (Inaudible) progress they make with South Korea. We cannot adjust or calibrate whether or not we are going to go forward with an NMD program based upon what the North Koreans might say from time to time. We have to assess what the capability is and then make our own determination. I think that it's clear that, based on what they have done in the past, they could achieve a long- range capability by 2005. That's a judgment that the Rumsfeld Commission certainly came to and I just think that we cannot afford to have the United States in a position of putting a program on or off depending upon what one country says from time to time.

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