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DNI Haines: N. Korea May Resume Missile Testing to Drive Wedges

Hot Issues of the Week2021-04-18


U.S. intelligence authorities have presented a series of disconcerting assessments on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile threats. Officials in Washington believe that North Korea might soon resume its nuclear and missile testing in a bid to drive wedges between the United States and its allies.

The top U.S. intelligence official says North Korea may resume its nuclear and long-range missile testing. 

Avril Haines, director of National Intelligence, discussed her assessment before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

[Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines]

"For its part, North Korea may take aggressive and potentially destabilizing actions to reshape its security environment and will seek to drive wedges between the United States and its allies. These efforts could include the resumption of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM) testing." 

This came a day after the DNI released its Annual Threat Assessment report, which warned that North Korea will remain a weapons of mass destruction(WMD) threat for the foreseeable future. 

Meanwhile, at the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, Gen. David VanHerck, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, highlighted the same possibility.

[Gen. David VanHerck - Commander, US Northern Command]

"I remain concerned about the capacity from the 10th of October parade we saw in North Korea to ensure that I maintain enough capacity for the total number of ballistic missiles North Korea can launch at the United States."

The Northcom chief told the House committee that the North Korean regime has indicated that it is no longer bound by its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM testing announced in 2018 and that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may begin flight testing an improved ICBM design in the near future.

Comments from the military and intelligence authorities came as they were listing threats the U.S. is currently facing, including China, Russia, Iran, as well as international terrorist groups. 

The DNI placed China at the top, saying it is increasingly a near-peer competitor, economically, militarily and technologically.

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