News

TRANSCRIPT

DoD News Briefing

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
Minister of Defense of the Republic of Korea Chun Yong-Taek
Press Conference
Thursday, July 9, 1998 - 11:15 a.m.

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Q: Can I ask you, Secretary Cohen, to comment on reports that North Korea has deployed its No Dong missile, and if so, when? And what concerns, if any, do you have about its deployment? I'd also like Minister Chun to comment.

Secretary Cohen: What we can say is that North Korea has completed its development of the No Dong missile, but I am not in a position to comment in terms of when or where or how there has been a deployment of the missile itself.

It's of concern, obviously, should it be deployed, and we will watch it very closely.

Minister Chun: My answer is on the same line as the answer given to you by Secretary Cohen. We know they have completed development of the missile and they are able to field these weapons when necessary. But when and where they will do this is a question to us also.

Q: Given the growing concern with the proliferation of short range missiles, both North Korea, also Iran, are you concerned, Secretary Cohen, that seven years after the Persian Gulf War the United States still doesn't have an effective defense against theater missiles?

Secretary Cohen: First of all, we do have an upgraded and increased capability as far as the Patriot missile is concerned. Secondly, we are working aggressively to develop theater missile defenses. We are certainly experiencing some difficulties as far as the THAAD program is concerned, but this is not to be, it's not unexpected. Whenever you're trying to develop a system as complicated as the TMD systems that we are looking at then we can expect failures. But we are aggressively pursuing it. We hope to meet the scheduled deployment dates for these other systems.

I would point out secondly, that in addition to developing theater missile defenses, we also have a very strong deterrent to any country that would seek to attack U.S. forces or those of our allies, that they would be met with a very substantial response. So as we are developing our theater missile defenses, we have in place a very strong deterrent as well.

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Q: Mr. Secretary, there's a report that there's been an agreement with Lockheed Martin on a schedule for THAAD, that if the schedule isn't met, the tests aren't successful, the company would be fined heavily. Can you comment on that report? Do you think that will be able to produce a successful test? That type of pressure?

Secretary Cohen: I'm not in a position to comment on the report itself. We're obviously concerned with the recent failures of the THAAD program and the deficiencies, the need to identify what those deficiencies are so they aren't replicated in the future, but I'm really not in a position to comment on that report. .............