"Intelligence officials believe North Korea will have a reliable, intercontinental missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon as early as next year, according to a report published Tuesday amid a warning from a top Republican lawmaker who says he has grown increasingly alarmed about Pyongyang's weapons program.
The Washington Post reported that a new confidential assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency trims two years off the timeline for when North Korea could strike North American cities with atomic weapons. The assessment was triggered by recent North Korean missile tests that indicated the nation's program was further along than expected.
The newspaper said that U.S. officials who had seen the assessment said it concluded that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be able to produce a "reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM" program by sometime next year, allowing the program to move from prototype to assembly line."
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