WASHINGTON: The top US intelligence official said on Sunday he would not be surprised if North Korea tested another missile, given that it had two tests in July, amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.
President Donald Trump has made fiery warnings to North Korea, saying that the US military was “locked and loaded”.
North Korean officials in turn have accused the US leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.
“I am quite confident that (North Korean leader Kim Jong-un) will continue to try to develop his missile programme, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was another missile test,” US Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday”. “He conducted two in July, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was another missile test.”
North Korea said on Thursday plans would be completed by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land near the US Pacific island of Guam, 3,500km away.
Guam, some 7,000km from the US mainland, is a target because of its naval base and air force base, from which two B-1B supersonic bombers were deployed close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Australia “will come to the aid of the United States” if North Korea attacks, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Friday, after nuclear-armed Pyongyang outlined plans to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam.
The Australian leader’s comments of support to close ally Washington followed President Donald Trump’s warning to North Korea that it should be “very, very nervous” of the consequences if the isolated nation even thought of attacking US soil.
“The United States has no stronger ally than Australia,” Turnbull told Melbourne commercial radio station 3AW.
“And we have an ANZUS agreement and if there is an attack on Australia or the United States then each of us will come to the other’s aid.
“So let’s be very clear about that. If there is an attack on the United States by North Korea, then the ANZUS treaty will be invoked and Australia will come to the aid of the United States.”