United States intelligence agencies have revealed that they are “moderately confident” that North Korea may have developed a nuclear weapon small enough to be put on a ballistic missile. This assessment comes as the international community waits on the edge of its seat for the isolated, threatening nation to conduct another missile launch, as the U.S., Japan, and South Korea all reported on Thursday that the Pyongyang government was moving rockets into firing positions along the eastern border.
The U.S. Pentagon’s intelligence arm, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), adds to its revelation that if North Korea does have nuclear weapons capabilities, their reliability would low. While the country has conducted several ballistic missile launches, the latest two in April and December of 2012, as well as three nuclear tests, the most recent this February, its perceived technology limitations have prevented it from putting the two together. U.S. government officials say that this is just the DIA’s assessment, and that further credible information needs to be gathered before confidence levels can be raised beyond “moderate.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama called on North Korea to end its “belligerent approach” and call off its plans and further weapon tests. Recent weeks have seen Pyongyang make threats of nuclear war against the U.S., as well the targeting of the country’s military bases in Japan and Guam. Earlier this week the North’s government-backed newspaper ran an editorial that warned the islands of Japan would become a battlefield if Tokyo continued to push towards war by following the U.S. in enforcing additional sanctions. Obama has reiterated that no one in the international community wants to see a conflict, but also stated that the U.S. is more than ready to protect is people and defend its allies in the region should another missile be launched.
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