Expert: North Korea targeting Austin 'not worth losing sleep over'

Terrorism expert: Risk of North Korea attack in Austin extremely low


North Korea issued another statement warning of certain nuclear destruction for several major U.S. cities Friday, in what has become a regular occurrence under new dictator Kim Jong Un.

What's different this time, however, is that Austin, Texas, appears to be on a list of potential targets.

In a photo released by North Korean state media, leader Kim Jong Un is shown sitting at a table, flanked by generals.

A map on a board behind him shows several lines leading from North Korea to several cities in the United States, including Austin.

Experts said those lines likely represent the potential trajectories of nuclear missiles.

"They do have nuclear power, so we need to take these threats cautiously," said Professor Jeffrey Addicott, director of the St. Mary's Law School Center on Terrorism Law. "That said, they're not really capable of doing any harm here."

Addicott said experts largely agree that the approximately 7,000-mile distance between the isolated country and the capitol of Texas is too great for North Korea's current weapons technology.

On top of that, shrinking existing nuclear weapons small enough to fit on a missile is technology North Korea likely won't have for years, Addicott said.

The United States also operates a sophisticated missile-defense system, which Addicott said is more than capable of shooting down anything the North Koreans might launch.

"I wouldn't lose any sleep over this," Addicott said. "They've been rattling their sabers for years now, and this isn't really any different."

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