ICBM nuke by 2018

De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency says Kim’s mis­sile pro­gram far­ther along than was be­lieved

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Ellen Nakashima, Anna Fif ield and Joby War­rick

North Korea will be able to field a re­li­able, nu­clear-ca­pa­ble in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile as early as next year, U.S. of­fi­cials have con­cluded in a con­fi­den­tial as­sess­ment that dra­mat­i­cally shrinks the time­line for when Py­ongyang could strike North Amer­i­can cities with atomic weapons.

The new as­sess­ment by the Pen­tagon’s De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency, which shaves a full two years off the con­sen­sus fore­cast for North Korea’s ICBM pro­gram, was prompted by re­cent mis­sile tests show­ing sur­pris­ing tech­ni­cal ad­vances by the coun­try’s weapons sci­en­tists, at a pace be­yond which many an­a­lysts be­lieved was pos­si­ble for the iso­lated com­mu­nist regime.

The U.S. pro­jec­tion closely mir­rors re­vised pre­dic­tions by South Korean in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials, who also have watched with grow­ing alarm as North Korea has ap­peared to mas­ter key tech­nolo­gies needed to loft a war­head to­ward tar­gets thou­sands of miles away.

The find­ing fur­ther in­creases the pres­sure on U.S. and Asian lead­ers to halt North Korea’s progress be­fore it can threaten the world with nu­clear-tipped mis­siles. Pres­i­dent Trump, dur­ing his visit to Poland this month, vowed to con­front Py­ongyang “very strongly” to stop its mis­sile ad­vances.

The re­port con­cluded North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be able to pro­duce a “re­li­able, nu­clear-ca­pa­ble ICBM” pro­gram some­time in 2018.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.