WASHINGTON — A top U.S. military officer says North Korea is "many years" away from being able to launch ballistic missiles from a submarine.
But vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James Winnefeld, said Tuesday such missiles could eventually present a "hard-to-detect" danger to Japan and South Korea and U.S. forces stationed there.
North Korean state media reported leader Kim Jong Un observing the test of such a missile this month. Photos showed a projectile rising from the sea's surface and Kim smiling from a distance at what looked like a floating submarine.
Winnefeld said the North Koreans "have not gotten as far as their clever video editors and spinmeisters would have us believe."
But he said the potential future threat reinforced the need for regional missile defense.