The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has established a Korea Mission Center to harness the full resources, capabilities, and authorities of the agency in addressing the nuclear and ballistic missile threat posed by the regime of supreme leader Kim Jong-un.
The CIA said its new mission center draws on experienced officers from across the agency and integrates them in one entity to bring their expertise and creativity to bear against the North Korea target.
A veteran CIA operations officer has been selected as the new Assistant Director for Korea and presides over the mission center, which will work closely with other spy agencies and the entire U.S. national security community.
“Creating the Korea Mission Center allows us to more purposefully integrate and direct CIA efforts against the serious threats to the United States and its allies emanating from North Korea,” said CIA Director Mike Pompeo. “It also reflects the dynamism and agility that CIA brings to evolving national security challenges.”
The CIA announcement comes shortly after North Korean ambassador to the UK, Choe Il, confirmed that Pyongyang will conduct its sixth nuclear test whenever it wants, disregarding the potential threat of a pre-emptive strike by Washington.
“I can say that the nuclear test will be conducted at the place and time as decided by our supreme leader, Kim Jong-un,” Choe told Sky News as tensions around the Korean Peninsula escalates with the Japanese, South Korean and US fleets all conducting naval drills in the region.
Washington, Beijing, and Seoul have already threatened to impose new sanctions on Pyongyang if the country attempts further nuclear or long-range missile tests. Last month, North Korea conducted two failed mid-range missile tests.
The North, however, defends its right to develop nuclear and ballistic technology as a deterrent against the US and its regional allies.
A ballistic missile launched early Sunday from the northwestern part of the country, was the first provocative move from North Korea since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office last week.
US officials calculated that the missile traveled some 450 miles, from a launch site near its border with China into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, where it landed in 60 miles south of Vladivostok, home to the Russian Pacific Fleet.
“Despite strong warning from the international community, North Korea launched a ballistic missile again,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “This is totally unacceptable and we strongly protest it. North Korea’s missile launch is a serious threat to Japan and clearly violate against the UN resolution.”
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