Keeping Eyes on North Korea

There’s a “lot of concern” about North Korea’s growing long-range ballistic missile capabilities, said Air Force Space Command boss Gen. William Shelton on Thursday. “They have tried several times to get to orbit and they did get to orbit this time,” he said, referring to the successful mid-December launch of an Unha-3 rocket that reportedly placed a small satellite, called the Kwangmyongsong-3, into orbit. North Korean officials maintain that the launch was for peaceful scientific reasons, but Shelton said a country capable of launching a rocket with sufficient velocity to get to space also would be capable of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. “That gives us a lot of concern for a lot of reasons,” he said during the Jan. 17 meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C. “What they would do in space is not as concerning to us right now because they are very immature in their space program,” he added.