South Korean intelligence: North Korea may announce nuclear force readiness next year

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The South Korean government says that North Korea may be preparing to announce next year that it has developed and deployed a functional nuclear deterrent.

News of the pending announcement comes following the latest North Korean ballistic missile test early Wednesday local time.

Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea’s unification minister, said the North has been ramping up development of its nuclear weapons program, leading to the short timetable now for deployment.

“North Korea has been developing its nuclear weapons at a faster-than-expected pace. We cannot rule out the possibility that North Korea could announce its completion of a clear force within one year,” Cho told foreign correspondents in Seoul. [source]

(Analyst comment: If true, that puts the U.S. and North Korea on a shorter timeline to conflict — if President Trump sticks to his campaign pledge of denying North Korea a nuclear capability.)

Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2:  What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints?

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