US Exploring New Options Against Escalating North Korea Threat: White House

Cheryl Sanders
April 5, 2017

It launched four ballistic missiles from near its west coast on March 6 and this week conducted a rocket engine test that its leader, Kim Jong-un, said marked "a new birth" of its rocket industry.

North Korea has ramped up military pressure as the USA and the South have conducted their annual joint Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises.

The missile fired by North Korea on Wednesday exploded "within seconds of the launch", U.S. and North Korea's defense forces said after detecting the recent one in a series of weapons tests by the isolated country.

Citing U.S. officials with knowledge of the most recent intelligence from North Korea, Fox News reports that the test could happen as early as next week.

Tillerson's suggestion the USA would consider military options isn't realistic given the ability of North Korea to retaliate and inflict immeasurable damage on the densely packed South Korean population, according to Robert Kelly, a political science associate professor at South Korea's Pusan National University. In his New Year's address in January, he said that North Korea had "entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile".

If North Korea completes the miniaturization of nuclear warheads and mounts the weapon on an intercontinental ballistic missile, it will have a weapons capable of striking the USA mainland.

Still, experts and Western officials are convinced that North Korea is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that could strike the continental United States. They have been "playing" the United States for years.

"A missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch", Benham said, adding that a more detailed assessment was underway.

North Korea is pushing hard to upgrade its weapons systems to cope with what it calls United States hostility.

It's still unclear what kind of missile the North Koreans were attempting to launch, but it's not unusual for this kind of testing to occur during this season.

The South Korean military has said several times since the September test that Pyongyang was ready to conduct another nuclear blast at any time, and that a tunnel was available at the site to do so.

Over the weekend, Kim supervised the test of a missile engine that had "historic significance", according to North Korean state media.

North Korea carried out two nuclear tests a year ago. "We inherited a mess", he also said, a remark that was taken as showing Washington has yet to find a clear solution on the North Korean nuclear issue.

Other reports by iNewsToday