North Korea has hinted that it could test a long range missile capable of hitting New York, months after President Donald Trump insisted: “It won’t happen”.
Accusing the US leader of underestimating the secretive Communist state’s capabilities, an article last week in state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun, suggested that it was close to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“Trump blustered early this year that the DPRK’s final access to a nuclear weapon that can reach the US mainland will never happen,” the editorial said, using an abbreviation for the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The US is feeling uneasy as this might be proven in practice. The strategic weapons tests conducted by the DPRK clearly proved that the time of its ICBM test is not a long way off at all.”
It added: “The DPRK is about 10,400 km far away from New York, but this is just not a long distance for a strike today.”
The quotes were originally reported in Foreign Policy magazine.
Mr Trump took to Twitter in January after reports suggested that North Korea might test an ICBM.
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
“North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S,” he wrote. “It won’t happen!”
The pariah state responded with a statement suggesting it would test missiles when its leader Kim Jong-Un wanted to.
Last month, Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, the US Defence Intelligence Agency chief, said it was “inevitable” that a nuclear weapon launched from North Korea would hit the US mainland.
At the end of last month, North Korea released photos of a Scud-type missile being launched and falling into the water off the western coast of Japan – the third such show of military aggression in the space of three weeks.
In recent weeks the US has sent a fleet of warships into North Korean waters, and brought several new launchers for a defence missile system to South Korea to cope with any military threat from north of the border.
North Korea maintains that its pursuit of nuclear weapons is solely a means of defending itself from foreign powers such as the US.