The United States will not launch a preemptive strike to prevent North Korea from test-firing one of its missiles, a top US lawmaker said on Tuesday at the conclusion of a closed-door briefing by top Pentagon officials.
Asked after the meeting about the possibility of a US strike to knock out North Korea's Taepodong missiles, Republican Senator John Warner said the White House has ruled out the possibility.
"I think that the administration has pretty well put (that) to rest, and I concur with the administration.
"A preemptive strike at this point in time would not be a wise course of action," Warner said.
Warner, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, nevertheless said, "Prudent steps are being taken by our government to protect us in the ... Probably remote possibility that this is a hostile launch."
But he voiced strong support for a defensive US missile system.
"It seems to me that this situation with North Korea reinforces very strongly the need for this nation to continue to have the research and development and eventual deployment of a strong missile defence system.
"Mind you, that system serves largely as a deterrent -- I repeat, a deterrent -- to those nations which might decide to challenge the United States," he said.