Diplomats in both Japan and South Korea have warned that North Korea’s capacity to use nuclear weapons is “imminent” amid escalating tensions in the region.
Talking to Yonhap News Agency on Saturday, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung confirmed comments from CIA director Mike Pompeo that North Korea was “months” away from being able to conduct a full-scale nuclear strike on the United States.
“It is true,” she said. “Parts of its tunnel have [sic] been destroyed after the North conducted the sixth nuclear test, but it has more than one of them so (an additional nuke test) can be done at any time.”
“North Korea declaring the completion of its nuke weapon and it having a strategy on how to actually use it are different issues,” she added.
Meanwhile, Japanese defense minister Itsunori Odonera also warned that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities were reaching an “unprecedented, critical, and imminent” level and that all Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. would all have to provide “different responses.”
Last week, Pyongyang threatened to deliver an “unimaginable strike” on the United States amid escalating rhetoric between both President Donald Trump and dictator Kim Jong-Un.
“The U.S. is running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones. The U.S. should expect that it would face unimaginable strike [sic] at an unimaginable time,” warned the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
In September, South Korean officials confirmed that North Korea had successfully conducted their sixth test of an immensely powerful hydrogen bomb, as well as launching a missile over Japan.
The military has since announced that it will carry out evacuation drills for Americans based in South Korea in preparation for any sort of military attack, although a military spokesperson said this was just a “routinely scheduled drill” and was not related to current events.
During a speech at the United Nations last month, Trump cautioned that America would “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary to defend itself and allies, and has since described Kim Jong-Un as a “little rocket man” carrying out a “suicide mission.”