North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and friends. Picture: REUTERS
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and friends. Picture: REUTERS

The window to stop North Korea from being able to attack the U.S. with a nuclear bomb is closing fast.

U.S. defense analysts now believe North Korea has as many as 60 nuclear bombs, and the ability to put them on missiles. Kim Jong Un declared that the entire U.S. territory was within striking distance after his regime twice tested an intercontinental ballistic missile called the Hwasong-14 in July. On September 3, Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test yet.

After President Donald Trump vowed to unleash “fire and fury” on Kim’s regime, North Korea last month fired a missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean. Kim said the test was a “prelude” to containing Guam, home to some of the most important U.S. military bases in the Pacific.

While North Korea already possesses the Taepodong-2, which can reach all parts of the U.S., analysts say it has been used only for launching satellites into orbit and probably wouldn’t be suitable for the delivery of nuclear warheads.

The Hwasong-14, a liquid-fueled missile, is the first ICBM that North Korea has tested. Questions remain about whether the missile can survive re-entry with a workable guidance-and-control system intact that can direct it to targets in the U.S.

- Bloomberg

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