North Korea conducted an unprecedented number of weapons tests in 2022, including firing its most advanced ICBM


  • Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier said North Korea's weapon advancements make it more dangerous
  • Berrier said the U.S. has yet to see signs of North Korea's new nuclear test
  • North Korea has launched missiles for the fourth time amid the U.S.-South Korea drills

A military intelligence official warned that North Korea's advancements in its weapons programs are threatening the security interests of its main rivals.

Army Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), told reporters that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues to hone his military's capabilities amid the series of combat drills and missile test launches.

"He continues to pursue greater accuracy and lethality with his missile force," Berrier said, Reuters reported.

"But I think it is a much more dangerous North Korea than it has been in the past," the DIA director added.

However, Berrier downplayed speculations that North Korea could conduct a nuclear test while the U.S. and South Korea are in the middle of their annual joint military exercises.

Berrier said the U.S. is watching any indications or warnings revealing North Korea's intention to conduct a nuclear test. The general said those two factors "haven't aligned" yet.

Despite the low possibility of a nuclear test, Berrier said the U.S. would continue to be vigilant about North Korea's actions.

On Wednesday, North Korea fired cruise missiles toward the sea while protesting the U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

South Korea's joint chiefs of staff revealed that the North has launched "several" cruise missiles in the eastern coastal town of Hamhung, the Associated Press reported.

This was the fourth time North Korea launched missiles since the U.S. and South Korea, its main adversaries, began their 11-day joint military exercises last week.

Over the weekend, North Korea also conducted a simulated nuclear counterattack exercise to showcase their military's deterrence from nuclear attacks.

North Korea's simulated tactical drills included a ballistic missile launch tipped with a test warhead. According to the state-run news agency KCNA, it aimed at checking the operational reliability of its nuclear explosion control devices and detonators.

North Korea considers its ballistic and cruise missiles "strategic" weapons since they can handle a nuclear warhead.

North Korea's continuous violation of U.N. resolutions and its nuclear weapons production became the topic of a heated debate between the U.S., China and Russia at a U.N. Security Council meeting.

China and Russia, North Korea's main allies, blamed U.S. military activities with South Korea for causing the North to respond more with nuclear weapon tests.

However, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield insisted that her country's military cooperation with South Korea poses no threat to North Korea, claiming it was "purely defensive in nature."

Thomas-Greenfield reiterated that the U.S. is still open to a dialogue with North Korea to ease the tensions in the Korean peninsula.

A North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur