Kim Jong-un speaks of a "new strategic weapon" during the fifth Plenary Meeting of the seventh Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea. (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, Kim announced he would unveil a “new strategic weapon” in the face of what the hermit state denounced as US “hostile policy.”
Prior to rocket engine tests North Korea performed at Seohae Satellite Launching Station last December, Pyongyang fired projectiles and short-range ballistic missiles, including an SLBM. North Korea test-launched its first ICBM in 2017.
The four-star general said a “reliable and lethal defense” is needed to counter the threats North Korea continues to pose with a nuclear-tipped ICBM.
Also, in a statement submitted to the committee Thursday, Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the US Strategic Command, accused Pyongyang of continuing “to defy international norms” and “to foster regional instability.”
The admiral said the US remains vigilant about the threats North Korea poses to its allies and partners, and is bolstering international approaches to reduce that risk.
By Choi Si-young (email@example.com