North Korea claims it tested an intercontinental ballistic missile. If true, it would put the country closer to being able to fire a nuclear missile at the US mainland. The US says it was a less powerful missile and not a threat to North America. July 4 AP
North Korea has not been able to fully develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, and it’s unknown whether last week’s launch successfully re-entered the atmosphere, the Yonhap news agency in South Korea reported Tuesday.
The missile launched July 4 had the distance to reach the U.S. mainland and marked the latest escalation of the North’s nuclear program.
North Korea said it developed an ICBM that could ferry a large nuclear warhead, but it may have been an unsubstantiated boast, Rep. Yi Wan-young of the Liberty Korea Party said after a meeting with officials from the National Intelligence Service, according to Yonhap.
Yi also said North Korea is capable of conducting a nuclear test at its Punggye-Ri site at any time, but there was no signs of an immediate detonation, the news agency reported.
The Hwasong-14 missile launched July 4 had a maximum range of about 4,163 miles, meaning it would be able to hit targets in Alaska but not the contiguous U.S. mainland or the larger islands of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.
Video aired on North Korea’s state broadcaster KRT showed leader Kim Jong Un attending a concert to celebrate last week’s test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. AP
Kim Jong Un, the North’s leader, attended a concert Tuesday celebrating the launch. The performances included “Song of Hwasong Rocket” and “Make Others Envy Us,” according to the nation’s official Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea, which has been ratcheting up its tough talk against the U.S. in recent weeks, has conducted at least eight missile tests this year. It tested nuclear explosive devices in 2006, 2009, 2013 and twice in 2016. The July 4th launch was its first successful attempt at launching a long-range weapon.
Analysts said a May 14 ballistic missile launch by Pyongyang successfully re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and marked a breakthrough for the North’s program, The Telegraph reported.