North Korea may be planning new nukes that can hit U.S. soil, U.S. general warns
A top U.S. general thinks North Korean might resume nuclear missile tests this year.
By Jacki Salvetti | Feb 19, 2020 | Print-friendly

North Korea may be working on launches of new intercontinental ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads all the way into U.S. territory, warned the chief of the U.S. American Aerospace Defense Command. The official, General Terrence O-Shaughnessy, said in a statement to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that Kim Jong Un might resume these ICBM tests this year.

North Korea has suspended all nuclear-capable ICBM tests since December 2017, as part of denuclearization negotiations with the United States. But those talks have stalled, and Kim promised last year that he will reveal a "new strategic weapon" in the "near future."

In a statement Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee, O'Shaughnessy said that while the North Korean leader did not specify what type of weapon he is planning, "recent engine testing suggests North Korea may be prepared to flight-test an even more capable ICBM design" and that this weapon "could enhance Kim's ability to threaten our homeland during a crisis or conflict."

The general stressed the importance of U.S. ballistic missile defense as a counter to any North Korean ballistic missile launches, and he suggested that U.S. forces eventually add new short-range capabilities for added protection.

Kim ordered short-range missile tests throughout 2019. While President Trump dismissed these launches as routine, senior administration officials and U.S. allies warned that even these tests pose a threat to regional peace. North Korea is also reportedly continuing to illegally import refined petroleum and coal, in violation of international sanctions, while expanding its missile and nuclear capabilities, according to a United Nations report released to Reuters.