UPDATE : 2018.5.20 SUN 13:34
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N. Korea seeks ability to simultaneously fire multiple nuclear missiles: CIA chief

North Korea is pushing to acquire the capability to fire multiple nuclear missiles at the same time, increasing the threat posed to the United States, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency said Tuesday.

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, CIA Director Mike Pompeo also said the U.S. mission is to extend that timeline as much as possible.

"Kim Jong-un will not rest with a single successful test," he said, referring to the North Korean leader. "The logical next step would be to develop an arsenal of weapons that is not one, not a showpiece, not something to drive on a parade route ... but rather the capacity to deliver from multiple firings of these missiles simultaneously."

This AP file photo shows U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo. (Yonhap)

Pyongyang last year conducted its first tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland U.S. It also detonated its sixth nuclear bomb.

Pompeo has repeatedly said that North Korea is just months away from having the ability to nuke the U.S.

"I want everybody to understand that we are working diligently to make sure that a year from now I can still tell you they are several months away from having that capacity," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump wants a diplomatic solution to the North Korea crisis, Pompeo added, but "we are equally, at the same time, ensuring that if we conclude that is not possible, that we present the president with a range of options."

The CIA chief also noted that Kim appears to seek Korean reunification on his terms, not just protection of his regime, by pursuing the nuclear capability.

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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