The head of the U.S. military's Pacific Command said Tuesday that he believes North Korea owns intercontinental ballistic missiles(ICBMs) that can hit the U.S. mainland and that the U.S. is ready to respond to the worst case scenario.
Admiral Harry Harris made the remark during a lecture in Washington D.C. hosted by defense media outlet Defense One, saying that he shares the same belief as former commander of the U.S. Northern Command, Admiral William Gortney.
In a congressional hearing in April, Gortney said that the North is assessed to be capable of launching an ICBM into space and sending it to the U.S. and Canada.
Gortney also said the U.S. maintains readiness for a possible North Korean attack on the assumption that the communist country is capable of loading a nuclear warhead on a rocket to strike the U.S. and Canada.
Harris noted that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has also explicitly expressed his intent to develop nuclear-mounted ICBMs, adding he believes Kim.
He said as a military commander, he does not have "the luxury of distinguishing" between whether or not Pyongyang possesses the capability to target the United States. He said he must "assume the worst case and prepare for it."