North Korea has hundreds of ballistic missiles that can target its neighbors in Northeast Asia, but will need foreign technology to upgrade its arsenal if it plans to pose a direct threat the United States, U.S. researchers said Tuesday.
The latest findings come from a research program investigating what North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability will be by 2020.
North Korea has conducted several nuclear tests, setting the region on edge with no sign of negotiations restarting to coax the country into disarming.
For now, the emphasis is on sanctions and military preparedness. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits Japan and South Korea this week amid speculation the U.S. wants to place a missile defense system in South Korea in case of a ballistic missile strike from the North. However, Seoul is reluctant about the alleged project as it would alienate China. The U.S. already has deployed anti-missile radar in Japan.
U.S. military officials have expressed concern over the North’s growing nuclear capabilities. Navy Adm. William Gortney, commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. believes North Korea has the ability to miniaturize a warhead to put on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Read More: Hundreds of North Korean missiles pose bigger threat to Asia than US, researchers say | Fox News