On the same day that the White House called every U.S. senator in for a meeting on issues surrounding North Korea, PolitiFact North Carolina published a fact check on a claim about the country from N.C. Sen. Richard Burr.
Burr, a Republican, is the chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee. He told a small group in Youngsville last week that North Korea’s failed missile test – also last week – was cause for concern despite its failure. He cited the behavior of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who took over from his late father Kim Jong Il in 2012.
“When you do things like he does, you automatically assume he’s crazy,” Burr said of Kim Jong Un. “The pace of missile development between his father’s term and his term has increased the testing about twenty-fold.”
There has been plenty of bluster and confusion surrounding North Korea’s missile launch lately – from the hermit country’s bellicose actions to the Trump administration saying it had sent an aircraft carrier strike force to the area when, in reality, the ships were thousands of miles away and sailing in the opposite direction.
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So PolitiFact NC wanted to know if Burr was right with his own claim about the country increasing its missile development and testing by so much.
Kim Jong Il wasn’t hesitant to build and test missiles, much to the dismay of neighboring countries. So increasing missile activity by a factor of 20 would require serious commitment by the younger Kim.
Burr’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment, but multiple North Korea experts said he had a point – although he was perhaps overstating the progress of North Korea’s missile program and giving the country too much credit for some tests that are more political in nature.
In all, Burr’s claim earned a Mostly True rating.
To learn more about North Korea and the threat it poses (and about what Burr got right and what he got wrong) read the full fact check here.
Email: truthometer@PolitiFact.com; Twitter: @PolitiFactNC
PolitiFact North Carolina
Speaker: Sen. Richard Burr
Statement: “The pace of missile development between (Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un) has increased the testing about twenty-fold.”
Ruling: Experts agree that missile testing has increased significantly under Kim Jong Un. However, they say it doesn’t necessarily correlate to increased research and development by the country, like Burr claimed, since many recent tests were probably solely political in nature. We rate this claim Mostly True.