North Korea, if left unchecked, on 'inevitable' path to nuclear ICBM - U.S. | Reuters

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali | WASHINGTON WASHINGTON North Korea, if left unchecked, is on an 'inevitable' path to obtaining a nuclear-armed missile capable of striking the United States, Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.The remarks are the latest indication of mounting U.S. concern about Pyongyang's advancing missile and nuclear weapons programs, which the North says are needed for self-defence. U.S.

Reuters May 23, 2017 18:25:10 IST
North Korea, if left unchecked, on 'inevitable' path to nuclear ICBM - U.S.
| Reuters

North Korea if left unchecked on inevitable path to nuclear ICBM  US
 Reuters

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali
| WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON North Korea, if left unchecked, is on an "inevitable" path to obtaining a nuclear-armed missile capable of striking the United States, Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.The remarks are the latest indication of mounting U.S. concern about Pyongyang's advancing missile and nuclear weapons programs, which the North says are needed for self-defence. U.S. lawmakers pressed Stewart and the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to estimate how far away North Korea was from obtaining an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM) that could reach the United States.They repeatedly declined to offer an estimate, saying that doing so would reveal U.S. knowledge about North Korea's capabilities, but Stewart warned the panel the risk was growing."If left on its current trajectory the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States homeland," Stewart said. "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."

The U.N. Security Council is due to meet on Tuesday behind closed doors to discuss Sunday's test of a solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile, which defies Security Council resolutions and sanctions. The meeting was called at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea.INTELLIGENCE GAPS
John Schilling, a missile expert contributing to Washington's 38 North think tank, estimated it would take until at least 2020 for North Korea to be able to develop an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S. mainland and until 2025 for one powered by solid fuel.

But Coats acknowledged gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea and the thinking of its leader Kim Jong Un. He cited technological factors complicating U.S. intelligence gathering, including gaps in U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), which rely on assets like spy satellites and drone aircraft."We do not have constant, consistent ISR capabilities and so there are gaps, and the North Koreans know about these," Coats said.

Washington has been trying to persuade China to agree to new sanctions on North Korea, which has conducted dozens of missile firings and tested two nuclear bombs since the start of last year.New data on Tuesday showed China raised its imports of iron ore from North Korea in April to the highest since August 2014 but bought no coal for a second month after Beijing halted coal shipments from its increasingly isolated neighbour.U.S. President Donald Trump has warned that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible over its weapons programs, although U.S. officials say tougher sanctions, not military force, are the preferred option.Trump's defence secretary, Jim Mattis, said on Friday any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale." (Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Global Markets: Stocks ascend to record on economic recovery, vaccine outlook
Business

Global Markets: Stocks ascend to record on economic recovery, vaccine outlook

By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks hit a record and oil prices jumped on Monday as the newest positive data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine and signs of economic recovery in Asia boosted sentiment. U.S. stocks advanced, with the Dow Industrials setting a record as it neared the 30,000 mark for the first time, after pharma company Moderna said its prospective vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing the illness, which has crushed economies across the globe

Airbnb IPO filing shows third-quarter earnings beating virus with cost cuts, new focus
Business

Airbnb IPO filing shows third-quarter earnings beating virus with cost cuts, new focus

By Anirban Sen and Joshua Franklin (Reuters) - Airbnb Inc's initial public offering (IPO) registration showed on Monday that the home rental startup turned a profit in the third quarter despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as it gears up for one of the most anticipated stock market debuts in recent years. The filing, published ahead of Airbnb's anticipated stock market debut in December, showed a dramatic recovery in its fortunes, after the coronavirus outbreak dragged down its core home rental business during the first half of the year. The slump forced it to lay off 25% of its workforce in May, suspend marketing activities for the year and seek $2 billion (£1.5 billion) emergency funding from investors, including Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, at a valuation of $18 billion

Biden says U.S., allies need to set global trade rules to counter China's influence
Business

Biden says U.S., allies need to set global trade rules to counter China's influence

By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday the United States needed to negotiate with allies to set global trading rules to counter China's growing influence but declined to say whether he would join a new China-backed Asian trade pact signed on Sunday.