The latest comments by a leading U.S. military figure show the U.S. is growing increasingly concerned by the ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea.
At a Senate hearing Thursday, General Charles Jacoby, head of the Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said that, while threats to U.S. national security were becoming gradually more imperceptible, the U.S. military could make a confident assessment of where North Korea is in terms of ballistic missile capability.
"Tangible evidence of North Korean and Iranian ambitions confirms that limited ballistic missile threat to the homeland has matured from a theoretical to a practical consideration."
He added that his agencies were working with the Missile Defense Agency to deal with the potential proliferation of dangerous technologies to other states or terrorist groups.
South Korea-based news channel YTN reported Friday that Jacoby also referred to the ICBM that was paraded through Pyongyang at the 60th anniversary of the Korean War truce celebration in July of last year.
North Korea has developed and tested a number of short- and medium-range missiles, including a series of Scud missile and short-range projectile firings in recent weeks, but analysts have generally discounted claims the regime has the capability to construct a miniature nuclear device for intercontinental ballistic missile delivery.
Experts worry that, if Pyongyang does possess such technology, the regime will pose a much greater security threat to South Korea, Japan and the United States.
Kwon Soa, Arirang News.