North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test has raised serious concerns about that country’s nuclear capabilities.
"It sounds almost like science fiction for a tiny impoverished country like North Korea to credibly threaten to nuke Boston or New York City or Washington, D.C., but they are on the cusp of attaining that capability," said Tufts’ Fletcher School Professor Sung-Yoon Lee.
Experts say it was the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile Kim Jong Un has launched, traveling higher and further than ever before.
Professor Lee says with the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea quickly approaching, he believes North Korea will use that opportunity to try to get the U.S. and its allies to at least discuss loosening sanctions.
"But before North Korea gets to that point of making a peace overture, North Korea has to raise the stakes even more and I believe a major hydrogen bomb nuclear test is coming in the next few weeks," said Professor Lee.
"There’s tremendous opportunity for miscalculation on both parts, both parties," said Pete Wolcott of Maynard, who recently traveled to South Korea and sees this as a very serious crisis.
"It’s scary calculous to have to make if you’re a leader that’s for sure," said Wolcott.
Others are increasingly worried about North Korea’s capabilities and how the United States’ response could be interpreted.
"Everyone gets pretty upset and concerned about the future and you know, if there’s going to be a war," Graziela Tridapalli of Cambridge said.
Professor Lee says he thinks it’s "unlikely" North Korea will fire a nuclear missile at the U.S., but he believes North Korea will continue to do tests to try to scare the U.S. into giving them what they want.