SEATTLE -- As new satellite footage shows North Korea's nuclear site primed and ready for a test, at least one expert says Seattle would be the "ultimate target" for a nuclear weapon from the rogue nation.
Richard Ellings, the President of the National Bureau of Asian Research, says the missiles North Korea currently possesses can reach any part of Japan and South Korea. But it's the intercontinental missiles the country is testing that are a concern for the West Coast of the U.S.
"There are missiles that are under development ... that will certainly be able to hit the West Coast and especially Seattle, which is an ultimate target," Ellings said.
Ellings, like others, firmly agrees that North Korea doesn't have the capability for its missiles to reach Seattle yet, and likely won't in the immediate future.
But according to the former head of the CIA Gen. Michael Hayden, North Korea will be able to launch missiles that can reach Seattle by the end of President Donald Trump's first term.
Ellings said because of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Boeing, a Trident submarine base and a major population center, Seattle is a prime target.
"We are the ultimate target to hold hostage, from a North Korean perspective," Ellings said.
Former Washington Senator Slade Gorton said he agrees that Seattle residents face an ever-increasing level of insecurity from the unstable dictatorship an ocean away.
"As long as no one takes any action with (North Korea), it will keep making itself more and more dangerous to us and everyone else in the world," Gorton told Q13 News on Friday morning.
WATCH RAW VIDEO ABOVE: Slade Gorton on the threat of North Korea
Gorton, who served 18 years in the Senate and was a member of the Armed Services Committee, responded to questions on North Korea following the rise in global tensions as the country appears to prep for a nuclear test.
"North Korea is the single greatest challenge the United States faces today with respect to its own security," Gorton told Q13 News.
Gorton said few options remained on the table as Kim Jong-un continues to ramp up North Korea's nuclear program.
"Bluntly, the United States today faces just one of two stark choices: Quit, effectively surrender, or take them out," Gorton said.
Earlier this month, conservative commentator Ann Coulter sparked angry reaction on social media when she said Seattle wouldn't be worth saving in a nuclear attack.