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North Korean flag Reuters

North Korea "clearly" has the range to hit parts of the United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) but not with much accuracy, a top U.S. general said Tuesday, according to AFP.

U.S. officials confirmed in early July that North Korea successfully test-launched an ICBM for the first time, noting the ballistic missile flew longer than any North Korean missile test conducted by the regime to date.

While North Korea had declared in the past that it could test-launch an ICBM “at any time” from any location set by its leader, Kim Jong-Un, it was impossible to determine whether any of its tests had been of an ICBM until that test, which took place on July 4.

Experts said that the ICBM that was tested could potentially reach parts of Alaska or Hawaii.

But General Paul Selva, who is vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of the Staff, testified he wasn't confident North Korea has the capacity to strike the United States with any degree of accuracy.

"I do agree in principle with the assessment that the North Koreans are moving quickly to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capability," Selva was quoted by AFP as telling the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"What the experts tell me is that the North Koreans have yet to demonstrate the capacity to do the guidance and control that would be required," he added, referring to the ability of the North Koreans to steer a warhead toward a specific target.

When asked whether North Korea could now reach the United States, he said, "On range, they clearly have the capability."

The U.S. recently proposed a new UN Security Council resolution to impose stronger sanctions on North Korea over its long-range ballistic missile test.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley also warned that the U.S. is prepared to defend itself from the North Korean threat, saying, "One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction.”

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