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FILE - In this file image made from video of an Aug. 14, 2017, broadcast in a news bulletin by North Korea's KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un receives a military briefing in Pyongyang. Conventional wisdom says that if North Korea were ever to use its nuclear weapons, it would be an act of suicide. To many who have studied how nuclear strategies actually work, it’s conceivable North Korea could escalate to a nuclear war and still survive. Tuesday’s missile test suggests once again it may be racing to prepare itself to do just that _ but only if forced into a corner. (KRT via AP Video)

The US is considering downing North Korean missiles, even if they aren’t a direct threat


The U.S. is considering shooting down missiles from North Korea even if they do not directly threaten the U.S. or its allies, according to CNN.

CNN on Tuesday reported that the notion of downing a North Korean missile has largely centered on projectiles immediately endangering America or its partners.

An official directly familiar with the Trump administration’s options planning, however, told CNN that other possibilities are under review.

CNN’s source said that it needs to be answered if North Korea’s missile program has progressed to the level of presenting an inherent threat.

The source noted that at such a level, the Pentagon would recommend targeting a North Korean missile even if its trajectory did not menace the U.S. or its friends worldwide.

Some Twitter users on Tuesday commented on the potential military tactic amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

One senior defense official told CNN that the potential for having to weigh whether to shoot down a North Korean missile without a direct threat remains very real.

CNN’s source pointed to North Korea’s launching of two ballistic missiles over northern Japan this summer as the reasoning for this possibility.

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday told reporters during an off-camera briefing at the Pentagon that the situation with North Korea remains tense.

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“[North Korea is] intentionally doing provocations that seem to press against the envelope for just how far they can push without going over some kind of a line in their minds that would make them vulnerable,” he said.

“I believe that there is always the potential for miscalculation by the DPRK leader,” Mattis added, referencing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

President Trump is expected to address North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons during his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City Tuesday.

North Korea’s quest for such arms and better ballistic missiles for delivering them has emerged as one of the early foreign policy challenges of Trump’s presidency.

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