JUCHE BIRD: US officials have admitted they believe Kim will attempt to launch the weapon
Kim Jong-un is feared to be on the verge of launching the dreaded “Juche Bird” missile – a live nuclear warhead strapped to an ICBM.
US officials now have said they believe the threats to launch should be taken seriously as tensions rage between Pyongyang and Washington.
North Korea suffered a disaster at its underground nuclear base, it emerged yesterday.
And there are now fears Kim may have no choice but to fire the Juche Bird.
Pyongyang’s top diplomats announced plans for test after a fiery clash with US President Donald Trump at the UN – and followed it up with a promise it should be taken “literally”.
Taking pictures in the DMZ is easy, but if you come too close to the soldiers, they stop you
“I would fully expect if he‘s telling us he’ll do it, he’s going to”
US military official
US officials believe North Korea’s bluster about the test is a way to reduce the chance of military action when they carry it out.
The Pentagon is now closely monitoring the rogue state amid fears of an imminent launch.
Back in 2006, Kim’s dad Kim Jong-il announced he was planning to detonate the nation’s first nuclear bomb the week before.
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“I would fully expect if he‘s telling us he’ll do it, he’s going to,” an unnamed US official said, reports Defense News.
The official was briefing reporters who were travelling with the US’s top commander General Joseph Dunford.
Kim’s missile would fly from the nation’s eastern coast – hurtling over Japan – before flying out into the central Pacific.
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan conducts joint drills with the South Korean navy at sea
Analysts dubbed the North Korean weapon the Juche Bird in an echo of the America’s only ballistic missile launch with a nuclear warhead – the Frigate Bird.
Kim may try to mirror what his old ally China did to prove its nuke to might to the US, as Beijing detonated a missile mounted warhead over the Pacific in 1966.
The “Juche Bird” would be the ultimate provocation of the West and would be an unprecedented step by North Korea that could spark World War 3.
AIR POWER: US bombers swooped over the Pacific this week ahead of Trump’s arrival in Asia
North Korea has been silent since September 15 – not firing any missiles or detonating any nuclear weapons.
At least 200 workers are reported to have died a collapse at nuke base Punggye-ri just days after Kim detonated his H-bomb.
US forces are flooding into the Pacific ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to the Asia starting later this week – with North Korea expected to top the agenda.
A gruesome propaganda painting produced by North Korea
Tensions have risen this year as Trump and Kim engaged in a fiery war of words over North Korea’s quest for ICBM.
The US President branded Kim a “rocket man on a suicide mission”, while the North Korean supreme leader slammed him as a “mentally ill dotard”.
US Air Force B2 bombers flew over the Pacific this week in a major show of strength amid growing war fears.