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The North Korean threat grew faster than U.S. predicted

North Korean missile launch
North Korea texts an intermediate-range ballistic missile in 2017. Photo: Korean Central News Agency via Getty Images.

American intelligence agencies underestimated Kim Jong-un, the New York Times reports. When President Trump took office, intelligence officials predicted North Korea would not build a missile capable of reaching the U.S. until 2020 or 2022, but, in 2017, the regime tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile that could travel as far as Washington, D.C.

The bottom line: Using "a decades-old Soviet engine design," North Korea has expanded its nuclear capabilites years ahead of schedule and, in September, tested a bomb that was roughly 17 times stronger than the nuclear bomb that decimated Hiroshima in 1945.