By Lee Haye-ah
WASHINGTON, July 27 (Yonhap) -- North Korea will attain a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile "pretty soon," a senior U.S. administration official said Thursday, citing the communist nation's repeated provocations.
The official, who is well-versed in North Korea affairs, spoke as there is growing alarm about the North's saber-rattling. On July 4, Pyongyang successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching Alaska and Hawaii.
"We're now at a point where this is going to become a fait accompli pretty soon," he said on the condition of anonymity. "Whenever we think, 'What are we going to do?' we have to think, 'How is he going to respond? What activities are we going to prompt in him? What conditions are we going to create for (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un?'"
The Donald Trump administration has repeatedly warned that the U.S. could use military options in response to the North's mounting threats. Pyongyang claims its missile and nuclear program is aimed at deterring what it calls U.S. hostility.
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