North Korea may “in the near future” begin flight tests of an improved design of its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the head of the US Northern Command said.
Such a move is believed to dramatically increase tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
Air Force General Glen Vanherk’s warning appears to be based not on specific intelligence about the upcoming launch, but on a parade in North Korea in October, which supposedly showed its largest ICBM.
Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Vanherk said that a “significantly larger, and presumably more capable” ICBM poses an even greater threat to the United States. However, he expressed confidence in American missile defense.
The general also noted that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lifted the moratorium on testing more than a year ago.
“The North Korean regime also made it clear that it is no longer bound by the unilateral moratorium on nuclear and ICBM testing announced in 2018, suggesting that Kim Jong-un may begin testing advanced ICBM designs in the near future,” Vanherk said.