North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (KCNA-Yonhap)
Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of the US Northern Command and of North American Aerospace Defense Command, told members of the US Senate Armed Forces Committee that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could be up for another missile test, in a statement on Thursday.
“Recent engine testing suggests North Korea may be prepared to flight-test even more capable ICBM design that could enhance Kim’s ability to threaten our homeland during a crisis or conflict,” he said.
In January this year, Kim announced he would unveil a “new strategic weapon” in the face of what the regime denounces as Washington’s “hostile policy.” In December, the North conducted rocket engine tests at Seohae Satellite Launching Station, following a test-run of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The four-star general said a “reliable and lethal defense” is needed to counter the threats the North poses with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile. The North test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile in 2017.
Also on Thursday, Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the US Strategic Command, accused Pyongyang of continuing to defy international norms and to foster regional instability in a statement to the same committee. He said the US is bolstering international approaches to counter the threats from the North.
By Choi Si-young (firstname.lastname@example.org