North Korea ramps up its plans to send four intermediate-range ballistic missiles around Guam, home to several U.S. strategic bombers. (Getty Images)
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A "confidential assessment" from intelligence officials concluded that North Korea has created a miniature nuclear warhead that can fit inside an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
North Korea repeatedly tested and demonstrated its ICMB capabilities this summer. The communist state's tests, coupled with multiple threats of nuclear attacks on the United States, led to back and forth displays of strength with the U.S. as well as repudiations from the international community, including new United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang.
According to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, the Post reported, North Korea is two years ahead of technological projections for its missiles. A test conducted by North Korea in July showed that its Hwasong-14 missile can reach as far as Chicago and Denver, but intelligence and defense experts were not certain if North Korea had the capability of safely attaching a nuclear device to the missiles.
The Post further reported that a new analysis by the DIA concluded that North Korea has created a nuclear weapon small enough to be delivered by an ICBM.
“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” part of the analysis quoted to the Post said.
The conclusion was verified by two U.S. officials familiar with the document, the Post said, though it is still unclear if the Koreans have tested the smaller design. North Korea claims it did so last year, however.
During a sit down with MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt on Saturday, national security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster said that the U.S. has a "preventative war" option on the table for North Korea. When Hewitt asked if the U.S. was considering a preemptive strike, McMaster responded that President Donald Trump had been very clear about not tolerating a nuclear North Korea, noting:
Well, we really, what you’re asking is — are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right? A war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon. And the president’s been very clear about it. He’s not going to tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States if they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States. It’s intolerable from the president’s perspective. So of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And that includes a military option.
During the interview, McMaster said that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un should "not sleep easy at night" and reminded Hewitt that the Korean War never truly ended in the first place.
North Korea has made overt threats to the United States in the recent days. Last Thursday, North Korea said through a state-run media organization that the U.S. is "on the knife's edge of life and death."
On Monday the communist country claimed that they would take a “thousands-fold” revenge against the United States after the United Nations imposed new sanctions on the communist regime.
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