U.S. Denies Role In NKorea's Missile Failure

The Pentagon says the U.S. military played no role whatsoever in the failure of North Korea's missile test yesterday.

"I can say categorically that the United States military did not play a role in the failure of this launch,"  Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little said.

Asked by reporters if there may have been any U.S.  activities beyond the military that might have brought down the missile, Little said, " I am unaware of any US role whatsoever in bringing down the missile."    He added, "to my knowledge this is a North Korean failed missile launch. "

According to Little, "initial indications are that it certainly failed in stage two.  We need to look over time, and experts are studying this right now, is precisely what happened along the trajectory.  I don't have that full  picture to provide at this stage. "

In the wake of the failed launch the U. S. has chosen to refer to the rocket the North Koreans labeled the  Unha 3 as actually a TaePoDong 2.

Little confirmed that  "it was the US Government's collective judgment that we could designate this a TaePoDong  2 missile."  Does that mean the US believes yesterday's failed launch was a military launch?  Little said,  "We are calling this a provocative act and the TaePoDong 2 missile is something the North Koreans have obviously  tried to launch in the past."

Does the succession of failed military launches imply that the US should reassess the threat posed by North Korea's missile technology?

Little said the U.S. treats  North Korean missile launches "very seriously" but American concerns go beyond their missile capabilities."   He added that the missile launches did not paint a complete picture about the range of North Korean capabilities, "so we have to be vigilant here and not reach conclusions too soon about where they might be headed."

The U.S. wasn't discounting future North Korean missile advances despite failures that show they have a "ways to go with their capabilities," he said.

U.S. officials have told ABC News that U. S. intelligence about activity at the location North Korea has used twice before to conduct its two previous underground nuclear tests.   That activity indicates North Korea could be preparing for another nuclear test.

Little said he could not confirm that North Korea is planning to conduct a nuclear test, but "we certainly hope they don't under taken any additional provocative acts."