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Public concern is mounting over North Korea’s apparent ability and willingness to use nuclear weapons against the United States.
A Pew Research Center poll released in early November revealed that 71 percent of Americans feel the U.S. government should take Pyongyang’s nuclear threats “very seriously,” an increase from 56 percent in 2013.
In addition, Pew reported that the majority of Americans (64 percent) believe North Korea is capable of launching a nuclear warhead that could reach the U.S.—up from 47 percent in 2013. Sixty-five percent of respondents think North Korea’s leaders are actually willing to follow through on their threats—also up from 47 percent in 2013.
Responses were only marginally different across party lines, with 74 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents saying North Korea’s threats should be taken seriously and 68 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents saying the same.
North Korea has continued to provoke Western nations and fuel concerns after it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on November 28 that landed near Japan’s coast, after more than two months since it last launched a missile. The nation’s state media reported that the weapon was “significantly more powerful” than previous ones and could strike anywhere within the “whole mainland” of the U.S.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis seemed to corroborate this saying that North Korea’s new intercontinental ballistic missile system can essentially reach “anywhere in the world.”