April 12, 2017

North Korea nuclear threat hits home

By Richard Fontaine

It was overshadowed by US missile strikes on the Syrian Air Force, but there was another crisis brewing during President Donald Trump meeting last week with China's Xi Jinping.

Going into the discussions, Trump observed that North Korea would top his agenda, and for good reason. Pyongyang's twin pursuit of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles has troubled successive US presidents over decades, and no administration has found a satisfactory response. Intelligence services now judge that Pyongyang will, likely within Trump's term in office, be able to place a nuclear warhead atop a ballistic missile that can reach the continental United States.

The notion of a reckless North Korean regime holding the United States at nuclear risk has galvanised new thinking in Washington. The threat has raised attention in Canberra as well. Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions were a major topic of discussion during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's recent meeting with Malcolm Turnbull.

Read the full article at the Australian Financial Review.

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