This is a breaking news story.
A North Korean official has told CNN that North Korea wants to develop a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reach the East Coast of the U.S. before it will engage diplomatically with the Trump Administration.
The official “reaffirmed Pyongyang’s commitment to developing a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching ‘all the way to the East coast of the mainland US,’ on Monday, telling CNN that the rogue nation is currently not interested in diplomacy with the U.S. until it achieves that goal,” CNN reported.
The official told CNN that diplomacy is not being ruled out, but “before we can engage in diplomacy with the Trump Administration, we want to send a clear message that the DPRK has a reliable defensive and offensive capability to counter any aggression from the United States,” CNN reported.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had said Americans should be concerned with North Korea’s ability to possibly strike the U.S. mainland with a missile, and if the threat goes “beyond where it is today, well, let’s hope that diplomacy works,” CNN reported, adding that Kelly said Pyongyang “is developing a pretty good nuclear re-entry vehicle,” meaning the missile would be able to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere without imploding, thus being able to strike a target.
President Donald Trump recently shut down Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statements that the U.S. has an open line of communication with Pyongyang, and would hope to solve the conflict diplomatically.
Trump alluded to the fact that his Administration and, most likely, the U.S. Military would be taking care of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
However, Tillerson on Sunday said diplomatic efforts would continue with North Korea until “the first bomb drops.”
North Korea last week threatened to again bomb Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, in light of the U.S.-South Korean military exercises happening this week.
CNN also reported:
The North Korean official told CNN that two additional steps are needed to achieve its goal of a reliable ICBM.
One step is an above-ground nuclear detonation, like the kind North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho threatened at the United Nations last month when he suggested leader Kim Jong Un was considering detonating “an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb” over the Pacific after Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea.
The other step is the “testing of a long-range ICBM capable of reaching Guam – and even further,” the official said.
Both steps are necessary for the DPRK to send that “clear message” to the Trump administration that it possesses an effective nuclear deterrent, the official said.
The official added that one or both of these tests could possibly be timed to coincide with the U.S.-South Korea joint naval drills, which began Monday and will last for ten days, or could possibly coincide with Trump’s visit to Asia next month.