U.S. Commander Skeptical on North Korea’s Claim of New Missile

The U.S. commander for Korea said there’s a “significant gap” between North Korea showing off a new submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile and having a viable nuclear weapon.

North Korea characterized the missile as “the world’s most powerful weapon” after giving it a public debut in a January parade.

“There remains a significant gap, however, between asserting North Korea possesses the ‘most powerful weapon,’ and certifying they possess not only the actual weapons but also a platform capable of successfully delivering it,” Army General Robert Abrams, the U.S. Forces Korea commander, said Wednesday in a written statement to the House Armed Services Committee.

“Projecting a capability in a parade, while an effective communication strategy, does not necessarily equal the ability to deliver it,” he said. “In fact, there has been no reporting to indicate that North Korea has exhibited a platform capable of delivering the weapons we were shown.”

Still, he said, “this new, possibly larger” intercontinental ballistic missile that can be launched by submarine may be an “intermediate step” toward obtaining solid-propellant ICBMs.

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