US General Tells Senate North Korea Can Hit US With Nuclear ICBM

“I believe they’ve had the time and the capability to miniaturize” a nuclear weapon to arm North Korea’s new KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles, Army Gen. Curtis M. “Mike” Scaparrotti told the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC).

Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said “we must assume they have that capability” of hitting the U.S. Adm. Samuel Locklear, head of the Pacific Command, also testified and agreed with Scaparrotti’s assessment of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities but said they had yet to test the KN-08.

The SASC hearing also focused on China’s efforts to build artificial islands in the South China Sea to enhance its territorial claims in the region. Adm. Harry Harris, who is slated to succeed Locklear at PaCom, recently called the artificial islands China’s attempt to build a “Great Wall of Sand” against competing territorial claims.

Locklear said the overall policy of the Obama administration was that “we don’t take sides in territorial disputes,” but added that he has been taken aback by speed of China’s land reclamation effort.

“How fast they’ve been able to do it has been astonishing,” Locklear said.

“I think we have to watch this very carefully,” Locklear said but did not give specifics on what the U.S. response should be.

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