North Korea celebrated July 4th in a huge way this year by successfully testing its first long-range (intercontinental ballistic) missile. Kim Jong-un then giddily suggested that more “gift packages” were on the way. In recent days, the UN punished North Korea with harsh new economic sanctions, which has resulted in increased threats and accusations that the U.S. is pushing the Korean peninsula to the “brink of nuclear war.” All of this, while frightening, didn’t yet signal a crisis because many assumed that North Korea hadn’t yet developed nukes capable of fitting on one of their missiles. Wrong? A new Washington Post reports says yep.
As it turns out, Kim Jong-un’s bloodthirst for the U.S. is reaching new heights with his latest nuclear advancement. U.S. intelligence officials revealed to WaPo that Pyongyang “has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead” that can be strapped into an ICBM, which would mean that North Korea could strike the mainland U.S. with one of these bad boys. How many of these mini-nukes does the regime possess? According to a late July analysis, that number ranges between 30-60. Here’s the lowdown:
“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post. The assessment’s broad conclusions were verified by two U.S. officials familiar with the document. It is not yet known whether the reclusive regime has successfully tested the smaller design, although North Korea officially last year claimed to have done so.
A little terrifying? Yes. Meanwhile, President Trump may continue to tweet his way into further conflict with North Korea, which will continue to make bombastic statements that are now backed up by mini-nukes capable of traveling into Alaska (or further). This past weekend, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said that such a development would be “intolerable” to Trump, who still has a “military option” on the table. However, McMaster stressed that the White House would continue to apply pressure to convince Kim Jong-un to “denuclearize,” rather than go to war (tweets be damned).
UPDATE: In response to this news, President Trump has vowed to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” upon North Korea if it won’t stop threatening the U.S. You can watch a clip of his statement here.
(Via Washington Post)