South Korean Joint Chiefs chairman General Kim Tae-Young says he believes North Korea is attempting to develop, or may have already developed a nuclear warhead small enough to be carried by its missiles. He said it was not clear if they already had the warheads or not, but suggested that the South might “launch a strike to get them not to use the weapons.”
US General Walter Sharp, the top commander in Korea, says his troops are “prepared for any reaction up North, anything up North,” though he maintained that “we have not seen anything out of the normal.”
Tensions between the US and North Korea have been higher since Pyongyang announced in August that they were suspending disabling their nuclear program. The State Department cautioned against getting “overly excited” at the move, but the North Koreans have since expelled the IAEA from the Yongbyon reactor with the intention of restoring the facility in the coming months.
This also comes amid reports by Japanese television station NHK that North Korea has test-fired short range missiles into the Yellow Sea. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack wouldn’t confirm the report, but said the department “would advise against”such launches. South Korean officials did confirm a firing by the North on Tuesday, but said it “was seen as part of routine exercises.”