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Airbus Defense & Space / 38 North / Pleiades CNES / Spot Image via AP

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News the U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike if they become convinced North Korea is about to test a nuclear weapon.

The U.S. would strike with non-nuclear weapons, the officials say, and has two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk missiles in the region, as well as heavy fighters positioned in Guam. The Pentagon has also rerouted the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier. The U.S. would reportedly seek South Korean consent before striking.

But North Korea says it would "hit the U.S. first" with nukes if the U.S. signals a strike.

The evidence North Korea might be about to launch a test: Experts report Pyongyang is primed to launch its sixth nuclear test from its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site within days, based on satellite images captured Wednesday.

Update: A senior administration official told the AP it was "completely false" that the U.S. was preparing for a pre-emptive strike.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

Developed countries reveal $100 billion climate finance plan ahead of COP26

Alok Sharma, head of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, speaks in Paris on Oct. 12. ( Li Yang/China News Service via Getty Images)

After 12 years of fits and starts, industrialized nations on Monday put forward a detailed plan to provide at least $100 billion annually in climate aid to developing countries starting by 2023.

Why it matters: The plan, presented by representatives of Canada and Germany, is aimed at defusing one of the biggest sources of tension at COP26, which is the failure of industrialized nations to follow through on their financial commitments.

3 hours ago - Health

Moderna says COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in kids

Photo: Martin Galindo/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Moderna on Monday released trial results for its coronavirus vaccine for children aged 6 to 11, saying it provides a "robust" immune response after two doses.

Why it matters: Moderna said it will officially submit the results to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization in "the near term," meaning we could soon see two coronavirus vaccines available to protect approximately 28 million more kids in the U.S.