North Korea conducted a successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch Friday, and now at least two U.S. officials say the rogue state can strike “most of the United States.”
The U.S. officials provided the assessment to Reuters and spoke on conditions of anonymity. The Pentagon has thus far declined to provide an official Defense Department assessment of the North Korean ICBM launch.
“The specifics of our assessment are classified for reasons I hope you understand,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a press briefing. The 5,500-kilometer range of the missile qualified it for a defense classification of an ICBM.
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After the ICBM launch, the United States dispatched two Air Force B1-B bombers over the Korean Peninsula in “direct response” to the Korean threat.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, announced Sunday the condemnation of both the North Korean provocation and the U.N.'s inaction:
There is no point in having an emergency session if it produces nothing of consequence. North Korea is already subject to numerous Security Council resolutions that they violate with impunity and that are not complied with by all UN Member States. [...]
China must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step. The time for talk is over. The danger the North Korean regime poses to international peace is now clear to all.
President Donald Trump, at a swearing-in ceremony for new Chief of Staff and former Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John Kelly, said that his administration would “handle” North Korea:
“We handle North Korea ... it will be handled. We handle everything.”
As the saber-rattling from North Korea escalates, it is noteworthy that the dictatorial regime of Kim Jong Un has attained a bigger saber. The Trump administration's response at this point, beyond mulling a “pretty severe” response, is to pressure China to step up pressure on the North Korean regime.
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