A high-level U.S. military official has been quoted as saying that North Korea has already crossed the red line and is in the "red zone."
Shin Gi-wook, the director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, conveyed the remark to a Seoul-based news agency on Wednesday after visiting the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii last week.
Shin said that he cannot disclose the name of the official as it was off the record, but said a top military official made the remark.
Many Korea experts have paid attention to what Washington would perceive as the North crossing a red line. It is noteworthy if a top U.S. official already believes the North's nuclear and missile risks are real threats.
Shin, a well-known Northeast Asia security expert, said Washington believes Pyongyang's intercontinental ballistic missile technology could threaten the U.S. mainland within the next few years. He said the U.S. government is of the view that it cannot miss the window of opportunity to deter that process. He said he doesn't think U.S. remarks on a preemptive strike against the North are political gestures.