White House strategizes for North Korea missile tests

The missile reportedly "spun out of control" and had a "fiery" descent into the sea

(CNN) – Kim Jong-un’s missile program is moving at a furious pace. His forces have fired what’s believed to be a scud missile, into the Sea of Japan. A senior U.S. defense official told CNN the missile “spun out of control” and had a “fiery” descent into the sea.

However, top U.S. general, John Hyten warns even when he fails in these test-firings, Kim gets more dangerous. “North Korea’s going fast. Test, fail, test, fail, test, succeed. And they’re learning. And they… you can see them learning, because that’s the way you do the rocket business.”

What worries America and its allies most is how close Kim is getting to having a nuclear-tipped missile, capable of hitting the continental U.S.

When asked how close North Korea is to having the dangerous capability, Thomas Karako answered, “So, they could be close. They’ve tested a lot of the constituent parts of an ICBM. They’ve tested a lot of the different technologies. Kim has said that they’re going to try to do it this year. If the next four-years, that could very well be the case.”

Kim’s latest test-firing comes on the eve of President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mr. Trump signaling Wednesday that what to do about Kim Jong-un, will be a crucial topic. “We have a big problem. We have somebody that is not doing the right thing. And that’s going to be my responsibility. But I’ll tell you, that responsibility could’ve made… been made a lot easier if it was handled years ago.”

A senior White House official told CNN, the “clock has now run out” on North Korea and all options are on the table. Another White House official said, that doesn’t mean the President’s team has made up its mind to launch a pre-emptive military strike.

At the same time, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued an unusually stark statement, “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea”.

Analysts said a military strike would be the President’s riskiest move, because of the potential for North Korea to attack Seoul, or the 28-thousand American troops near the demilitarized zone.

What’s the most realistic option for President Trump? Stephen Noerper said, “What is most likely is a step-up in sanctions, attempts to cut North Korea even further from the international financial system. There are ways to provide a tighter stranglehold, and they’ll be looking to China for that.”

Analysts said the Chinese President may be reluctant to put more pressure on Kim Jong-un, feeling he has already done enough to support the sanctions already in place, fearing the potential chaos on his border, if North Korea comes under more pressure and destabilizes.