One of America’s top generals says he has no doubts that North Korea will develop the ability to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon if not stopped.
“If left on its current trajectory, the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States homeland,” Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), told the U.S. Senate’s Armed Service Committee this week.
Stewart’s statement was based on a new intelligence assessment, CNN reported.
“While nearly impossible to predict when this capability will be operational, the North Korean regime is committed and is on a pathway where this capability is inevitable,” Stewart said.
It is only a matter of time, Stewart believes, before North Korea develops a working intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“They understand the physics, so it’s just a matter of design,” Stewart said.
An ICBM is a rocket that exits the Earth’s atmosphere and comes down at another point on the globe.
“They’ve certainly demonstrated a range of missiles, a range of fuel types, a range of boosters,” Stewart said.
The North Koreans were able to fire a medium-range missile and have it reenter the atmosphere without burning up earlier this month, U.S. intelligence analysts believe. That missile could hit Guam, a U.S. territory.
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