February 25, 2018

USA official warns of growing threat from North Korea

08 February 2018, 09:25 | Darnell Patrick

GETTY DANGEROUS Kim has shown the world he has a massive nuke arsenal

Kim has shown the world he has a massive nuke arsenal

North Korea has long pursued nuclear weapons in order to deter a potential US invasion, but only past year demonstrated an ability to fire intercontinental ballistic missiles, tested a hydrogen bomb and declared itself a full-fledged nuclear power.

Masashi Nishihara, director of the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS), told Sputnik that Washington's Nuclear Posture Review 2018 sends a strong signal to North Korea. Kim claimed another record, sending an ICBM 2,800 miles into the sky, which translates into a potential range of 8,000 miles, more than enough to hit anywhere in the continental United States.

Kissinger offered his thoughts to Congress on the impending "fork in the road", in which the commander-in-chief and his administration may utilize tighter sanctions against the regime or even consider a pre-emptive military strike.

The Rodong Sinmun, the North's ruling party newspaper, said on Tuesday US criticism of Pyongyang's weapons programmes and its human rights record was setting the stage for an attack.

Mattis added that, along with North Korea, Russia and China have been advancing their nuclear programs, while the U.S.' has remained the same.

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If North Korea succeeds in building its nuclear arsenal, Kissinger warns that it could ultimately lead to proliferation throughout Asia. China has 300 warheads, making it the world's fifth nuclear power, after the US, Russia, United Kingdom, and France.

Though the policy is meant to enhance the nuclear deterrence capabilities of the USA and its allies, there are persistent concerns that it runs counter to the nuclear disarmament that the world should pursue.

It turned out that North Korea's first two ICBM launches were carried out by KN-17 missiles paired up with a second stage, a development that caught US officials by surprise. Much of the regime's coal and fuel shipments passed through Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, or Russian ports.

Yet there is a relatively simple step the United States could take that would 1) limit President Trump's nuclear options, 2) reduce the risk of war, 3) respond to growing global calls to eliminate atomic arms, and 4) save a boatload of money. "We can only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator".

"Gone are the days when the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula was a controversial issue", the state-run Minju Joson newspaper wrote, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

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