North Korea ‘months away’ from ability to hit U.S. with nuclear weapon: U.S. envoy

FILE PHOTO - U.S. Ambassador Wood waits next to U.S. Army Captain Morris before their address on North Korea to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
FILE PHOTO - U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood (R) waits next to U.S. Army Captain Murzban Morris of the Departement of Defense Joint Staff before their address on North Korea to the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

February 6, 2018

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea is only months away from obtaining the capability to hit U.S. territory with a nuclear weapon and must be disarmed, a U.S. envoy said on Tuesday, dismissing Pyonyang’s diplomatic thaw with South Korea as a “charm offensive” that fooled no one.

In a diplomatic showdown at a U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament, North Korea responded by blaming Washington for escalating confrontation, saying it was deploying nuclear assets including aircraft carriers near the divided peninsula and was considering a pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang.

“North Korea has accelerated its provocative pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile capabilities, and expressed explicit threats to use nuclear weapons against the United States and its allies in the region,” U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood told the Geneva forum.

“North Korean officials insist that they will not give up nuclear weapons, and North Korea may now be only months away from the capability to strike the United States with nuclear-armed ballistic missiles,” he said.

A new U.S. nuclear policy review outlined last week “reaffirms that North Korea’s illicit nuclear program must be completely, verifiably, and irreversibly eliminated, resulting in a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons,” he said.

Asked later what the basis was for the assessment that North Korea would soon be able to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon, he said he had “no new information to share”.

North Korea tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-14, twice last July. In November it tested the Hwasong-15, believed to be capable of reaching the continental United States. It is not yet believed to have the capability to mount a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile.

North Korea is under tightening U.N. Security Council sanctions for its banned nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But recent weeks have seen a thaw with South Korea, after Pyongyang agreed to send athletes to compete in the Olympic Games opening on Feb. 9 in the south.


“What I would call ‘the charm offensive’ frankly is fooling no one,” Wood told the talks.

He also said arsenals in China and Russia were expanding, drawing rebukes from their respective delegations.

“Russia, China and North Korea are growing their stockpiles, increasing the prominence of nuclear weapons in their security strategies, and – in some cases – pursuing the development of new nuclear capabilities to threaten other peaceful nations,” Wood said.

“We are not going to stick our head in the sand, we are going to respond to these growing challenges,” he later told reporters.

North Korea accused the United States of seeking to aggravate the situation on the divided peninsula by “deploying large nuclear assets” nearby, laying the ground for a possible pre-emptive strike against it.

“In view of the nature and scale of U.S. military reinforcements, they are designed to make a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK,” North Korean diplomat Ju Yong Chol told the talks, referring to his country’s official name the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“U.S. officials including the defense secretary and the CIA director repeatedly talked about DPRK nuclear and missile threat to justify their argument for a military option and a new concept of a so-called ‘bloody nose’, a limited pre-emptive strike on the DPRK is under consideration within the U.S. administration,” Ju said.

He said President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine and U.S. nuclear superiority would endanger global peace and security and “trigger off a new nuclear arms race and could bring the whole world close to a horrible catastrophe”.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Peter Graff)

30 Comments on "North Korea ‘months away’ from ability to hit U.S. with nuclear weapon: U.S. envoy"

  1. “Global Thermonuclear War” from the movie, WarGames

  2. Sergeant_rock | February 6, 2018 at 12:37 pm |

    “Well lets wait and see, we don’t want to antagonize them”…..

    WHAT WAS THAT??? OH MY they just hit Hawaii with a nuke.. Millions of Americans have been vaporized…
    Why didn’t we stop them before this happened???

    Oh, that’s right, we wanted to “wait and see”…..

  3. Thanks to Bill Clinton and every president since him (excepting the incumbent) who averted their gaze and did *nothing* to prevent this.

  4. Would, You, Like, To, Play, A, Game?

  5. landy fincannon | February 6, 2018 at 9:48 am |

    Remember the Cuban scare? Here we go again.
    There has only been one nation that has popped the big one. EVER

    • CW Cressler | February 6, 2018 at 1:50 pm |

      And for good reason. Meanwhile, remember how the “Cuban scare” got resolved? Why not “go again”?

  6. DrSheilahere | February 6, 2018 at 9:41 am |

    “months away”? That is supposed to be reassuring. Fat boy with helmet head is positioning himself to take over South Korea. He has run out of money.

  7. The “conventional” nuclear war would leave 20% of population in casualties. Russian Status 6 weapon would make it near a hundred. North Korea is still far from having enough warheads to launch full scale nuclear attack. And it is not North Korea, who is playing this game. It is all China, and China only!

  8. It’s a LONG SHOT that the MORONIC ROCKET MAN would actually “commit suscide”……..
    However it’s a good excuse for the US to make a BIG HOLE IN THE GROUND “over there” if he is that STUPID.
    Just think how much money the World would save IF NK disappears.

  9. landy fincannon | February 6, 2018 at 8:09 am |

    Our next military endeavor will see a 1.2 trillion dollar investment into small nuclear weapons.

    Yep, the MIC is well pleased, as all ways

  10. Davidreyes1486 | February 6, 2018 at 8:07 am |

    I am ready for a recall to active duty. Let’s do this and get it over with once and for all. Rangers Lead The Way.

  11. "I'm a Rooster!" | February 6, 2018 at 7:02 am |

    I wonder if Obama and Biden have heard this news?

  12. 1. Geneva is always bowing to the ones who “say” they will take out everyone. Words are definitely weapons to them & they bow to the loudest words. 2. All NK has the ability to do is commit suicide. 3. One missile launched & before it gets past their boarders we have 100 non nuclear missiles headed straight for the launch site & one more to where Kimmy baby is sucking his thumb.

  13. OK, look at the worst case scenario. Total all out nuclear war. No winners, all losers, Earth starts over with zip. I’m not sure that God would see that as a bad alternative. We seemed to have left him out in the cold for a few centuries. Oh well.

    • landy fincannon | February 6, 2018 at 6:40 am |

      The ultra-elites have their underground bunkers well, stocked, filtered air, water purifiers and selfishly, they’ll close the 10 ton doors and wait it out.

      • there isn’t enough room underground to stock enough food to last the length of time to be able to grow more. Not to mention the space needed to raise meat for if nothing else fertilizer. Elites would kill each other though before the food ran out. They would fight over who is at the top of the pile!

      • What we need to do is fool them into thinking there is an attack, then when they go down into the bunker …….anyone seen dirty dozen?

        • landy fincannon | February 6, 2018 at 11:47 am |

          Yes, if only we would recognize that they have declared we the people as enemies of the state.

          • The Obama admin already did that. I don’t think it stuck very well.

          • landy fincannon | February 6, 2018 at 12:28 pm |

            Actually I was thinking of FDR’s revised trading with the enemy act of 1933. That is by the way when licensing began being implemented

    • Agree as I see that as a possibility. We as a species has lost sight of his teachings and the only remaining course is a Noah like flood. But this time it will be with fire the Bible says.

  14. landy fincannon | February 6, 2018 at 6:37 am |

    They’re so confident about what a closed society is capable of.

    Well, as we grow closer to autonomously driven vehicles the demand for rare minerals will grow exponentially.

    Guess who is sitting on a butt load of rare minerals?

  15. Texasexe2007 | February 6, 2018 at 5:42 am |

    Just think where we would be today if Hillary got elected President… She would be working a deal to sell more of our Uranium to North Korea like she did to Russia in exchange for more donations to the Clinton foundation..

  16. In nature, it is referred to as “posturing”. Making one look, sound and / or appear larger or more threatening to an enemy is what we are seeing on a global international scale. As nations who trade reciprocally with one another, Russia and China have no want or desire to engage in WWIII. NK is a substandard nation whose leader needs to be spanked and given corner time by mommy.

  17. Varangian Guard | February 6, 2018 at 3:00 am |

    An armed society is a polite society, perhaps this will have to extend to the larger scope of global status.

    It will almost assure the destruction of rogue or irrational nations which makes the whole dynamic one to tread lightly through, friend of friend can give you a challenge……..

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