>> North Korea's latest warning to the West, state media saying Pyongyang could test launch an intercontinental ballistic missile any time from any location, said by Kim Jong Un. That warning triggering a response from Ash Carter on Sunday, the US Defense Chief calling Kim's weapons a serious threat, but also saying America stands ready to shoot down a North Korean missile aimed at the US or its allies.
As James Pearson reports, it's part of a recent shift in America's take on the North.>> The US seems to have slightly adjusted its assessment of North Korea's capabilities. They've gone from saying, we don't think they are as far ahead as they say they are in their program, to saying things like, well, actually, we could shoot it down if they are where they say they are.
So, I think it's been an interesting change in rhetoric, certainly in the last couple of weeks or so. On top of that, we are heading towards the inauguration of president-elect Trump in the United States. I think what we see maybe, at least on both sides, is a little bit of testing the water and powerful domestic audiences based in Washington and Pyongyang.
>> North Korea has had regular weapons tests over the year, and the US has been forced to admit that it has stepped up the quality of its missiles. Experts say the technology needed to deliver a nuclear warhead could take years to perfect, but officials know they have to be vigilant.
>> By the time we get to any kind of situation where United States is actually having to shoot down a nuclear missile, then whether or not you hit it is quite frankly gonna be the least of your worries. Shooting down a missile is like trying to shoot a bullet with another bullet.
>> North Korea state media says America is, quote, wholly to blame for the weapons tests, calling them a desperate response to US hostility.>>