North Korea is now more emboldened than ever to develop a sophisticated intercontinental missile capable of destroying the United States. In the past month, we reported that the hermit state took the leap of faith by launching its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that analysts determined could reach Alaska.
Now, North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, in his latest show of force, has fired a second intercontinental missile that should be a significant cause for concern.
From the Associated Press:
David Wright, a physicist and co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that if reports of the missile’s maximum altitude and flight time are correct, it would have a theoretical range of at least 10,400 kilometers (about 6,500 miles).
That means it could have reached Los Angeles, Denver or Chicago, depending on variables such as the size and weight of the warhead that would be carried atop such a missile in an actual attack.
The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim expressed “great satisfaction” after the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum height of 3,725 kilometers (2,314 miles) and traveled 998 kilometers (620 miles) before accurately landing in waters off Japan.
The agency said that the test was aimed at confirming the maximum range and other technical aspects of the missile it says was capable of delivering a “large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead.”
The KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the launch reaffirmed the reliability of the country’s ICBM system and an ability to fire at “random regions and locations at random times” with the “entire” U.S. mainland now within range. The agency said that the test confirmed important features of the missile system, such as the proper separation of the warhead and controlling its movement and detonation after atmospheric re-entry.
Kim said the launch sent a “serious warning” to the United States, which has been “meaninglessly blowing its trumpet” with threats of war and stronger sanctions, the KCNA said.
President Donald Trump issued a statement condemning the missile test as a threat to the world, and rejecting North Korea’s claim that nuclear weapons ensure its security. “In reality, they have the opposite effect,” he said.
Trump said the weapons and tests “further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people.” He vowed to “take all necessary steps” to ensure the security of the U.S. and its allies.
In light of Kim Jong Un’s saber-rattling, the United States and its principal East Asian allies, Japan and South Korea, must act accordingly to ensure North Korea does not cross the threshold of mounting a nuclear warhead on a missile of this magnitude.
Any military response by the three countries is difficult to imagine given North Korea’s close proximity to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, a city of 20 million people.
The question is now, what’s next?
[Note: This article was written by Zachary Smith]