Seth Connell reports that for decades, the North Korean regime has declared that they seek to annihilate their enemies in the West, and for years we have often laughed off their claims as being something that will only happen decades in the future.
Well, folks, the future is here.
U.S. Intelligence analysts have revealed that the rogue totalitarian regime has created a small nuclear warhead that can fit into an inter-continental ballistic missile, and is in the process of developing missiles capable of delivering that warhead.
The Washington Post held a confidential assessment with the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the revelations demonstrate the fact that Americans should genuinely be concerned about North Korea’s path to becoming a nuclear power, one with striking capabilities.
The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.
The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials last month concluded that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking cities on the American mainland.
It has been a decade since the regime carried out their first nuclear test; however, one of the critical steps for becoming a nuclear was not expected to be reached for some time after that, the step of compacting the nuclear material into a smaller warhead. Many believed that it would be years even from now that their scientists would be able to make a warhead compact enough to deliver on an ICBM.
However, DIA’s new assessment shows that this critical step has already been achieved. The regime’s program is much further ahead than previously thought. The assessment was dated July 28.
“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.
The progress of the regime’s program may explain why the regime’s petulant tyrant is so militant and defiant in everything he does right now. His aggressiveness has even been met with China’s disapproval, and China is the regime’s only effectual ally.
What’s next? Multiple options, according to national security adviser H.R. McMaster, which includes possibly reintroducing nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula for additional defensive measures.
In the past, U.S. Analysts have overestimated the regime’s nuclear progress, but in recent years, especially during the Kim Jong-Un era, the program has been marked by surprising gains.
The regime is gaining ground in its program, and it shouldn’t be underestimated. However, we should not be hasty to get into full-on military conflict again. The regime does have nuclear weapons, up to 60. They are not able to travel across the world, but they do exist and getting into a military conflict with them would only increase the odds of the weapons being used.
Please, let’s pass.