The Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency has claimed it’s inevitable that a North Korean nuclear missile will hit the U.S. mainland.
Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart warned the Senate Armed Services Committee that the possibility of a nuclear attack from North Korea was very real and that if the country was left on its ‘current trajectory the regime will ultimately succeed’.
Neither Lt. General Stewart nor Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates could give a concrete timeline for when the North Koreans will be in a position to attack the mainland despite being pressed on the issue repeatedly, The Independent reports.
Both men claimed they couldn’t reveal the timeline because they’re concerned it may reveal sensitive intelligence the U.S. has been gathering on Pyonyang.
Mr Coates said:
We do not have constant, consistent [intelligence and surveillance] capabilities and so there are gaps, and the North Koreans know about these.
Coates also testified that North Korea is a ‘grave national security threat’ because Mr Kim is such an ‘aggressive’ leader who’s determined to develop a nuclear missile capable of reaching the west coast of the U.S.
Missile expert John Schilling told Al Jazeera that he believes it would take Mr Kim at least until 2020 to develop a missile capable of hitting the west coast of America however there are concerns they may be able to hit Hawaii far earlier.
Following North Korea’s recent missile test President Trump sent an aircraft carrier fleet to the Sea of Japan stoking tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.