23:51 GMT +320 November 2017
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    A mock North Korean missile is pictured during a rally denouncing North Korea's nuclear test and its recent missile launches, at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul

    Australia Could Be in Danger of DPRK Nuke Strike, US Korean Forces Warns

    © AFP 2017/ KIM JAE-HWAN
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    Vincent K. Brooks, commander of United States Forces Korea, told Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that Pyongyang has developed a rocket that could put Canberra in danger of a nuclear strike.

    North Korean threats to Australia, a US ally, are pretty new, as the isolated nation typically focuses on the US and South Korea, especially as the two nations conduct joint military drills that the North considers to be a dress rehearsal for invasion. 

    Bishop spoke to the Australian newspaper about Brooks’ warning saying, “The assessment was that North Korea… was now at a point of advanced technology when it came to ballistic missiles that were capable of carrying a single nuclear warhead, that it was an increasing security risk not only to the Korean peninsula but also to our region, including Australia…It was the first time I had heard it in such stark terms."

    "It is deeply concerning that North Korea has been able to take the opportunity to advance its capability."

    Pyongyang’s Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile has purported range of about 2,500 miles, and the Australian reported that the Queensland city of Cairns, which sits about 4,000 miles from Pyongyang, could fall in the strike range if the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) can increase the missile’s range to 4,500 miles.

    South Korea and the US have riled the North with their joint military drills, with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un threatening "merciless" retaliation if their sovereignty is violated and saying that the DPRK will reduce the US "to ashes" if "even a single bullet" is fired in a preemptive strike. 

    After a trip through points in Asia, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson implied that Washington was prepared to take military action against North Korea if the provocation continues.

    Tillerson proclaimed that the "policy of strategic patience" employed under former President Barack Obama would no longer be in play, and that 20 years of "diplomatic and other efforts" had failed.

    There is also speculation that Pyongyang may conduct its sixth nuclear test month from the Punggye-ri testing site, as part of their effort to attach a nuclear warhead to a long-range missile. 

    The North has conducted has conducted two atomic explosions and over 25 missile launches over the last year and a half.

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    Tags:
    nuclear strike, United States Forces Korea, Australian Foreign Ministry, Vincent Brooks, Julie Bishop, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Australia
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