North Korea might be working on an advanced version of the KN-20 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that “could potentially reach the United States,” according to a report.
CNN cited a “U.S. official” who spoke anonymously due to the “sensitivity” of the topic. It is timely, as well; President Donald Trump is set to visit Asia this month and will travel there on Friday.
North Korea only launched its first ICBM less than six months ago, when in July it tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially travel as far as Alaska. This successful Hwasgon-14 ICBM test was the result of decades of work on North Korea’s part.
“This newly assessed ICBM is just one part of an accelerated effort by Kim Jong Un’s regime to improve every part of its missile and nuclear weapons attack capability as quickly as possible, according to several U.S. officials familiar with the North Korean program,” CNN reported. “All of these improvements are forcing the U.S. to recalculate the timing of the threat that a North Korean missile could pose to the U.S., and the need to continuously update U.S. military response options.”
And: “Additional new improvements are underway to North Korea’s nuclear fuel, missile launchers, guidance and targeting systems as well, officials say,” CNN reported.
A North Korean official recently told CNN that North Korea wants to develop a long-range 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 more recently said that diplomatic efforts would continue with North Korea until “the first bomb drops.”
A top North Korean recently said that what North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho says should be taken “literally” – including his recent threat to of nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho threatened in September to test an H-bomb after a slew of accusations from North Korean dictator Jim Kong Un, in response to President Trump’s intense U.N. General Assembly speech on Sept. 19, during which the President said “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un is on a “suicide mission” and that the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if need be.
President Donald Trump is expected to visit Asia in November. While it was initially reported that he might visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides North and South Korea, Trump is reportedly no longer going to the DMZ.
In October, North Korea again threatened to bomb the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific, this in light of what Pyongyang refers to as “reckless moves” by the U.S.
The last threat to Guam came in August on the heels of President Donald Trump saying North Korea would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continues to threaten the U.S.
North Korea had also responded to the latest presence of American and allied aircraft over the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. in early October sent bombers over both coasts of South Korea to conduct mock military drills.
The show of force during tense times came despite North Korea threatening to shoot down U.S. bombers if it has to, after the country led by dictator Kim Jong Un claimed the U.S. declared war when President Trump tweeted that North Korea “won’t be around much longer” if it keeps threatening the United States.
The United States and South Korea have most recently performed joint naval exercises, and such events especially enrage North Korea, which views them as rehearsals for war and invasions of the country.
It is no secret that emotions run high on both the U.S. and North Korean sides of this situation. President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un have exchanged fierce comments back and forth for several weeks now.
The U.S. had sent bombers in late September – the aircraft flew the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. bomber or fighter aircraft has been in the 21st Century.
The President also 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.