02:08 GMT +322 October 2019
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    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with members of the Korean People's Army scientists and engineers in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

    North Korea Most 'Dangerous, Close' Threat US Faces - Army Chief of Staff

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    North Korea is the most dangerous and immediate threat facing the United States, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Asked how close in terms of time the North Korean threat might be, Milley said he would only disclose more information in a classified session.

    "North Korea is probably the most dangerous, close in terms of time threat, in my view, that the United States faces, and they are rapidly developing an intercontinental with a nuclear weapon attached that can range the continental United States, and I don't think we should allow that," Milley stated.

    The general noted that thousands of troops stationed in South Korea are within striking distance of Pyongyang's conventional weapons.

    "The United States has — publicly — 28,500 troops of all branches in Korea. Roughly speaking about 20,000 of those are Army, and North Korean tube, conventional tube and rocket artillery has extensive range, it can range all of Seoul, it can range most of the military compounds, so our troops are at risk in Korea," Milley said.

    The US Army has requested $137 billion for its 2018 budget. The administration of President Donald Trump unveiled their 2018 budget requests on Tuesday.

    The situation on the Korean peninsula has become increasingly tense in recent months due to the series of missile launches and nuclear tests conducted by Pyongyang. These tests are claimed to be in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

    Last Sunday, North Korea launched a ballistic missile, which reportedly flew some 500 kilometers (310 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan short of reaching Japan’s exclusive economic zone. This is the eighth missile launch carried out by North Korea in 2017.

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