North Korea declared on Sunday it could test-launch an ICBM at any time from any location set by leader Kim Jong Un, saying a hostile U.S. policy was to blame for its arms development.
"If the missile is threatening, it will be intercepted. If it's not threatening, we won't necessarily do so," Carter said in his final news briefing before President Barack Obama's administration leaves office on Jan. 20.
"Because it may be more to our advantage to, first of all, save our interceptor inventory, and, second, to gather intelligence from the flight, rather than do that (intercept the ICBM) when it's not threatening."
The top U.S. military officer, Marine General Joseph Dunford, who will stay in his role as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concurred with Carter at the event but did not enter into specifics. Carter's language left open the possibility of U.S. military action in any scenario.
Carter's remarks came just over a week after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump vowed that North Korea would never fulfill its threat to test an ICBM.Read more at Reuters