North Korea may be prepared to test-fire an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to threaten the US.
Command (NORAD) US Air Force General Terrence J O’Shaughnessy, commander of US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and of North American Aerospace Defence said that the recent engine tests conducted by North Korea suggest that the nation may be ready to test launch an “even more capable” ICBM that could pose a serious threat to Washington during a crisis or conflict.
At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, the General reported to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s earlier warning of a “new strategic weapon” and a “shocking actual action.”
“While Kim did not specify what this new weapon would be, recent engine testing suggests North Korea may be prepared to flight-test an even more capable ICBM design that could enhance Kim’s ability to threaten our homeland during a crisis or conflict,” O’Shaughnessy said.
North Korea conducted two rocket engine tests at its Sohae Satellite Launching Station, also known as the Dongchang-ri site, in December 2019, claiming the tests will have an important impact on changing its strategic position and bolster its “reliable strategic nuclear deterrent.”
Pyongyang also fired about 25 projectiles, including short-range ballistic missiles and an SLBM, during 13 rounds of weapons tests in 2019, though it has not launched an ICBM since November 2017.