Two Breaking News stories have elevated the North Korean Threat significantly. The Japanese Ministry of Defense has announced their belief that North Korea has achieved miniaturization of nuclear weapons and could be capable of fitting one or more inside long-range missiles.
“It is conceivable that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads,” the Defence Ministry said.
“Since last year, when it forcibly implemented two nuclear tests and more than 20 ballistic missile launches, the security threats have entered a new stage,”
The US Defense Intelligence Agency has assessed that North Korea has up to 60 nuclear weapons, more than previously predicted. Intelligence experts find Pyongyang approaching the key threshold to becoming a nuclear power much faster than previously thought possible. US intelligence now estimates, from recent tests, that North Korea will likely to be able to launch a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile by next year.
“The [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” an excerpt of the DIA analysis stated.
According to North Korea’s state-run news agency, KCNA, the military is “examining the operational plan” to strike areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles. The threat comes just hours after US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that if they continued to threaten the US, they would “face fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Guam is a key to the US military’s forward deployed presence in the Pacific, dubbed the “Tip of the Spear,” and is home to thousands of American service members and their families.
The statement, from the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army spokesman, warned that recent US military maneuvers “may provoke a dangerous conflict.” The statement mentioned a specific potential strike on “Andersen Air Force Base in which the US strategic bombers, which get on the nerves of the DPRK and threaten and blackmail it through their frequent visits to the sky above south Korea, are stationed and to send a serious warning signal to the US.”
In a joint exercise with Japanese and South Korean aircraft, the US flew two B1B bombers over the Korean peninsula on Monday. The bombers flew out of Andersen AFB in Guam as part of its “continuous bomber presence,” according to a spokesman with the Pacific Air Forces. The North Korean statement specifically mentioned these flights, but did not reference President Trump’s threat of “fire and fury.” However, the statement did threaten Guam with “enveloping fire.”