North Korea now has an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, armed with a nuclear warhead able to reaching the U.S. mainland, nevertheless they haven’t yet solve the “re-entry problem” that could get rid of the warhead since it hits the atmosphere, a senior military official said Thursday.
“It’s the threat that keeps me awake at night,” the senior official said.
North Korea has acquired and developed an ICBM and perfected the miniaturization of the warhead to adjust to atop the missile, the state run said, but “they’re uncertain of the re-entry capability” because missile transitions from space towards the atmosphere.
In recognition in the growing North Korea threat, the Defense Department has transferred some authority for countering weapons of mass destruction from U.S. Strategic Command on the Joint Special Operations Command, according towards the high-ranking official who spoke on grounds of anonymity.
Earlier in 2010, the Defense Department confirmed that North Korea had developed a brand new mobile ICBM able to punching the U.S. known as the KN-14. The new missile was on display in a very military parade a year ago in October in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
North Korea boasts the long-range Taepodong-2 missile, a 2 or three-stage missile containing successfully delivered satellites into space.
In 2011, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that “North Korea may have developed” an ICBM by 2016, but said the missile would have limited capabilities. Since then, North Korea has aggressively pursued development of a miniaturized warhead, according towards the Arms Control Association.
In January, North Korea conducted its fourth underground nuclear make sure leader Kim Jong-un boasted that it was obviously a hydrogen bomb, though U.S. analysts dismissed the claim. Two months later, North Korea unveiled a mock-up of an miniaturized nuclear bomb and performed two separate missile-related ground tests, the Arms Control Association said.
Last year, Army Gen. Curtis M. “Mike” Scaparrotti testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his concerns about North Korea’s progress on fitting a warhead with an ICBM.
“I believe they’ve had enough time as well as the capacity to miniaturize” a warhead, said Scaparrotti, then this commander of U.S. Forces-Korea and today the supreme allied commander of NATO.
Last week, an ancient U.S. commander in South Korea said the brand new administration of President-elect Donald Trump may have to think about a pre-emptive strike on North Korea before it could launch a long-range missile.
“I don’t think any talking, any diplomacy, will almost certainly convince Kim Jong-un to switch,” retired Army Gen. Walter Sharp said in the North Korean leader in suggesting the possibility of a pre-emptive strike to reduce the nuclear threat.
Should North Korea put a missile such because the three-stage Taepodong 2 about the launchpad, as well as the U.S. was unsure whether it carried a satellite or even a nuclear warhead, the missile should be destroyed, said Sharp, the former commander of U.S. Forces-Korea and the United Nations Command from 2008 to 2011.