North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs pose a “serious threat” to the US and its allies in Asia, according to US intelligence agencies in an unclassified worldwide threat assessment.
Presenting the report to the Senate intelligence committee yesterday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he is “very concerned” about the actions of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and the “very belligerent” rhetoric that has been emanating from his regime.
His testimony comes as tensions on the Korean peninsula are at the highest since at least 2010, with North Korea threatening nuclear strikes and withdrawing from the 1953 armistice ending the Korean War.
“The rhetoric, while it is propaganda laced, is also an indicator of their attitude and perhaps their intent,” Clapper told the committee. “So, for my part, I am very concerned about what they might do.” The North is capable of initiating “a provocative action against the South,” he said.