The Washington Post is out with a chilling report about North Korea's nuclear capabilities: It says Pyongyang has figured out how to make a nuclear warhead small enough to be carried by a missile. The news comes from a newly completed assessment by US intelligence officials, and it suggests that the North has passed the crucial milestone years ahead of schedule. It's not known whether the North has actually tested such a warhead, though it has boasted of doing so. Combined with the nation's progress in testing intercontinental ballistic missiles, which could someday reach US shores, the news will only raise the pressure on President Trump and the international community. Related developments:
- Trump fires back: After the Post story appeared, Trump made a jarring statement: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," he told reporters, per ABC News. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen." He said Kim Jong Un has been "very threatening" and reiterated that the North "will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before."
- Caveat: It remains unclear just how firm the new assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency is, notes the Atlantic. The Post reporters were read an excerpt of the report and did not see it in its entirety. "What we don’t know ... is how confident the agency is in its assessment and what its assessment is based on. Nor is it clear whether other US intelligence agencies share this view."
- Bad sign: The North has been ordered to halt its missile tests, but US spy satellites have spotted two anti-ship cruise missiles being loaded on a patrol boat—a possible sign of new tests in the coming days, reports Fox News. The North frequently responds to sanctions with new tests, notes the New York Times, and it has promised "righteous action" after the latest round from the UN.
- Tillerson: Still on his foreign trip, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Southeast Asian nations to help keep the new sanctions enforced on the North, reports the Wall Street Journal.
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