North Korea’s claims have not been independently verified and many analysts say Pyongyang is still years away from deploying these new weapon systems. Still, there are indications that North Korea is moving steadily to develop the capability to strike the U.S. mainland or anywhere in the world with nuclear weapons.
“I don’t want to comment on intelligence matters but … it is of great concern to us that the North Koreans are continuing to pursue such capabilities. I think the intention is clear. We should be concerned,” said U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim.
High-ranking diplomatic envoys from the U.S., South Korea, and Japan met in Seoul to discuss how to respond to North Korea’s continued efforts to develop its nuclear program.
US Ambassador Kim said it is important that Russia and China continue to support whatever approach they decide to take. He said he will make that point clear when he meets Thursday with Chinese Special Representative Wu Dawei in Beijing.
Secretary Kerry said Kim Jong Un has rebuffed overtures from China and Russia. Both countries supported U.N. imposed sanctions against North Korea after it conducted its third nuclear test in 2013. But Beijing in particular has been reluctant to exert further pressure on Pyongyang out of concern that it might increase instability and the potential for conflict in the region. However China is reportedly growing increasingly alarmed over Kim Jong Un’s intransigence and has, according to Secretary Kerry, indicated a new willingness to explore new punitive measures against Pyongyang.
The six party talks about dismantling the North’s nuclear program in return for economic assistance and security guarantees have been on hold since 2008.