WASHINGTON, April 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK) does not have the ability to arm a ballistic missile with nuclear warhead.
In an interview with NBC, when asked if Pyongyang has "the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile?", Obama responded: "Based on our current intelligence assessments, we do not think that they have that capacity."
But he also stressed that Washington is preparing for "every contingency out there."
"That's why I've repositioned missile defense systems to guard against any miscalculation on their part," Obama said.
He warned that Pyongyang can make "more provocative moves over the next several weeks." But Obama said he was in the hope that " we can move into a different phase in which they try to work through diplomatically some of these issues."
On Thursday, U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn said at a hearing that intelligence indicated the DPRK may have acquired the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead with its ballistic missile.
"DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles," Lamborn read from, according to him, an unclassified intelligence assessment by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). " However, the reliability will be low."
However, in the same day, Pentagon spokesman George Little said that it would be inaccurate to suggest that the DPRK has fully demonstrated the capability to launch a nuclear-armed missile.
Tensions have been heightened on the Korean Peninsula since the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12 in protest against joint military drills between the Republic of Korea and the United States.
The DPRK has declared "a state of war" with the South and threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike for self-defense, and urged all foreign organizations, companies and tourists in the South to evacuate in case of war, saying the DPRK "does not want to see foreigners in South Korea fall victim to the war" as the situation on the peninsula "is inching close to a thermonuclear war."
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