If North Korea fires a missile at Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal, there is no guarantee that the U.S. will take action.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command's highest ranking Canadian officer stated today (September 14) that if North Korea launches an attack against Canada, the United States is not obligated to do anything.
Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand, NORAD's deputy commander, explained that the existing U.S. policy is "not to defend Canada".
Earlier this year, the question of whether Canada should join the controversial U.S. ballistic missile defence program was debated after scientists suggested that North Korea had tested its first hydrogen bomb.
Canada's Liberal government has chosen to uphold a 2005 decision to remain outside of the U.S. missile defence shield.
St-Amand stated that any decision would be made at the last minute by U.S. political and military leaders.
Although there are no clear indications that North Korea considers Canada a target, Canada did participate in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 when North Korea invaded South Korea.
Also, Pyongyang is closer to Vancouver (approximately 8,100 kilometres apart) than it is to Seattle (8,260 kilometres), San Francisco (9,000 kilometres), or Los Angeles (9,550 kilometres). The closest U.S. cities are Anchorage (6,000 kilometres) and Honolulu (7,390 kilometres). However, the proximity of Canada's three largest cities to the U.S. border would mean Americans would be threatened by any potential nuclear radiation as well.
Today, North Korea fired its second missile toward Japan that landed in the Pacific Ocean off the eastern coast of Hokkaido, prompting emergency responses by Japan and South Korea.
North Korea has threatened to use nuclear weapons to reduce the United States to "ashes and darkness" and that Japan should be "sunken" into the ocean due to their support of a UN Security Council resolution and sanctions to address North Korea's latest nuclear test.