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10 August 2017, 01:35 | Rufus Hill
North Korea now has nuclear warhead for its missiles, report says
"I know he (secretary of state) was quoted most recently about willing to talk with the North Koreans and we assure them that their peace and prosperity is best served by engaging with us and having a denuclearised North Korean peninsula, it's on the assumption that they stop their missile tests and stop their nuke tests and stop the development of a nuclear weapon", Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told a news conference.
Hours later, North Korea responded to the latest remarks by Trump by saying it was "carefully examining" a plan to strike the USA territory of Guam.
But Zhao said an increasingly erratic North Korea is now threatening to overshadow the Communist Party's big day.
The sharp increase in tensions rattled financial markets and prompted warnings from USA officials and analysts not to engage in rhetorical slanging matches with North Korea.
Pyongyang said it's "now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12". Hours earlier, North Korea's army had said in a statement it was exploring plans for attacking the tiny US territory, which houses USA military bases and is a common refueling stop for US government aircraft traversing the Pacific Ocean.
A Republican who's a leading voice on defense issues says President Donald Trump has "basically drawn a red line" with his strong warning on North Korea. South Korean stocks hit a record high earlier this summer. Baek did not mention Trump's comments.
Without proper protection during a re-entry stage, a missile's warhead could burn up.
The consequences of a US strike would potentially be catastrophic for South Koreans, Japanese and USA military personnel within range of North Korean retaliatory strikes.
A report that surfaced Tuesday claims North Korea could have as many as 60 nuclear weapons.
US stock indexes looked set to open lower on Wednesday as investors shunned risky assets following escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States. Another included a video clip of Trump vowing to respond to North Korean threats with "fire and fury".
Asked about the report Tuesday morning on Fox, Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, said she couldn't comment.
The president's retweets about his rhetoric Tuesday come as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was urging calm.
Guam Governor Eddie Calvo dismissed the North's threat and said the island was prepared for "any eventuality" with strategically placed defences.
The United States wanted to make clear it has the ability to defend itself and its allies, he said, and "avoid any miscalculation" by Pyongyang. From a longer term strategic view, Chinese leaders fear the prospect of a unified Korean peninsula that would put United States forces - 28,000 of which are now in South Korea - right on their doorstep.
"The sanctions bill which went through the United Nations recently didn't target Chinese entities directly. they'll actually be relieved they're not being directly targeted by the U.S.as many have feared", he said.
Tens of thousands of people packed Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang for the event, which followed a familiar format of speeches from a balcony, with the crowd listening below, standing in organized rows interspersed with placards and slogans.
It also means it is potentially capable of packing the weapon of mass destruction inside an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Denouncing the United Nations sanctions through state media, the North warned: "We will make the USA pay by a thousand-fold for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country".
China's attitude toward North Korea appears to be shifting, they say, albeit very slowly, comparing Beijing to a slow-turning ship. North Korea began producing fissile material for bombs in the 1990s and conducted its first nuclear test explosion in 2006.
Experts had until last month said it would still take another two or three years for North Korea to develop a nuclear-tipped ICBM.
The secrecy of the North's nuclear program and the underground nature of its test explosions make it very hard to properly assess its claims.
Feinstein called on the Trump administration to engage North Korea in "high-level dialogue without any preconditions".
The U.S. has expressed a willingness to work with Kim.
Officials at the agency wouldn't comment Tuesday. The State Department declined to comment citing "intelligence matters".
The findings would put North Korea's nuclear program years ahead of projections, according to some analysts, and bring it closer to its long-sought goal of becoming a nuclear power that can strike the U.S.
But others believe North Korea has no intention of backing down.
That compares to 64 missile tests over the eight years of President Barack Obama's time in the White House. The assessments are typically an estimate of the amount of plutonium and enriched uranium North Korea has in its inventory rather than how much of that material has been weaponized.
Not all technical hurdles have been overcome, however.
Despite the report, there is some question among weapons experts about how a long-range missile would react when re-entering from Earth's upper atmosphere. And it's still working on striking targets with accuracy.
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