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Pentagon: North Korea close to developing long-range nuclear missile

North Korea "will move closer" to developing a long-range nuclear missile that can strike the US, according to the Pentagon's latest assessment.

In a report to Congress released Thursday, the US Defense Department said that North Korea's recent advances in missile technology, as showcased at the height of its standoff with South Korea, were "in line with North Korea's stated objective of being able to strike the US homeland."

"North Korea will move closer to this goal, as well as increase the threat it poses to US forces and allies in the region, if it continues testing and devoting scarce regime resources to these programs," the report said.

The Pentagon has no reason to expect that North Korea will halt its costly and controversial nuclear tests or rocket launches, the report said, since Kim Jong Un's regime appears to believe that building up a nuclear arsenal will protect it from outside attack and help undermine South Korea's alliance with the US.

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