Thursday, April 28, 2005
North Korea capable of firing nuclear-armed missile at US: US official.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - North Korea has the capability of mounting a nuclear warhead on its missiles that could hit the United States, a senior US defense official said.
Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, gave the assessment during a Congressional hearing.
Asked by Senator Hillary Clinton whether North Korea had the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device, Jacoby said: "The assessment is that they have the capability to do that, yes, ma'am."
He said that North Korea also had the ability to deploy a two-stage intercontinental missile that could successfully hit US territory.
"Assessed to be within their capacity, yes," Jacoby told Clinton during the hearing on the defense intelligence budget of the US Senate Armed Services Committee.
North Korea said this month it had shut down its nuclear power plant at Yongbyon and was preparing to reprocess the plant's spent fuel, a move that could result in the production of enough plutonium to build up to six more nuclear bombs.
Reports quoting a US official said last week that the United States believed North Korea was planning to test a nuclear weapon and has asked China to intervene.