Obama Doubts NKorea Has Missile-Ready Nukes

Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 08:32 PM

By Greg Richter

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President Barack Obama says he has not changed his opinion that North Korea doesn’t have nuclear weapons small enough to put on a missile.

Obama made the remarks in an interview broadcast Tuesday on NBC.

Obama’s remarks are at odds with the Defense Intelligence Agency, which said in March that it had “moderate confidence” in North Korea’s ability to assemble a nuclear missile.

But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted that the report does not reflect the belief of the 15 other U.S. intelligence agencies, The New York Times reports.

While Obama, in the NBC interview, agreed with Clapper, he also noted, “we have to make sure that we are dealing with every contingency out there. And that’s why I’ve repositioned missile defense systems to guard against any miscalculation on (North Korea’s) part.”

Obama declined to speculate on the reasons for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s “bellicose rhetoric” over the past few weeks. He noted that the United States has seen similar behavior over the years from Kim’s father and grandfather, who founded North Korea in the 1940s.

“I’m not a psychiatrist,” Obama said. “Since I came into office, the one thing I was clear about was, we’re not going to reward this kind of provocative behavior. You don’t get to bang your — your spoon on the table and somehow you get your way.”

Obama said he expected Kim to continue venting for a few weeks, after which he expected more productive actions, though he didn’t give specifics.

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