Washington: North Korea has nuclear weapons capable of delivering by ballistic missiles, an unclassified US intelligence report says, amid heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang's saber-rattling.
DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency) assesses with moderate confidence the North Korea currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivering by ballistic missiles, however the reliability will be low, Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn said during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.
The Pentagon, however, said it is not correct to suggest that North Korea has a fully tested and developed nuclear capabilities.
On Friday House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of Defence budget, a member of the committee read an unclassified passage in a classified report on North Korea's nuclear capabilities, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
"While I cannot speak to all the details of a report that is classified in its entirety, it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed, or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage," said George Little in a statement.
The US continues to closely monitor the North Korean nuclear programme and calls upon North Korea to honour its international obligations, Little said after Lamborn created sensation by revealing portions from the classified intelligence report.
However, the portion that he read was unclassified. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, along with the Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel was taken off guard when the statement was read by Lamborn.
"I haven't seen it. And you said it's not publicly released so I choose not to comment on it," he said.
Responding to questions, Hagel said that neither North Korea nor Iran currently have the long-range missile capacity.
"Now, does that mean that they won't have it or they can't have it or they're not working on it? No. And that's why this is a very dangerous situation," he said.
Gen Dempsey said the US has been working with the South Korean on revising their national missile guidelines to give them a ballistic missile capability to be able to range further than they had been able to range previously.
On Thursday North Korea delivered a fresh round of rhetoric with claims it was preparing to test a medium-range missile.