North Korea’s new missile test has once again brought the focus back on the hermit nation’s capabilities of targeting U.S. mainland. The recent launch indicates that the U.S. mainland could be within the striking range of Kim Jong-un.
North Korea issued a statement on Monday confirming the successful launch of the new type of “Medium-Long range” ballistic missile. Kim Jong-un said that DPRK was a worthy nuclear power whether someone recognizes it or not, as reported by Yonhap News. He further warned the U.S. and said,
“It (U.S.) will not escape the biggest disaster in history because its mainland and Pacific operation region are in the D.P.R.K.’s sighting range for a strike.”
The North Korean statement also accused the American military of browbeating only weak countries without nuclear capabilities. Kim Jong-un also said North Korea was ready to counter any military provocation by the U.S.
North Korea also claimed that the new missile termed as Hwasong-12 was capable of carrying large-scale heavy nuclear warheads. In the past too, the hermit nation has made several such claims. However, this time the threat is real due to the new technology.
The New Advanced Technology
The North Korea’s new missile test employed a technology consistent with the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) which require re-entry technology and a better engine to target U.S. The recent launch shows signs of both the parameters, as reported by BBC.
The new missile was fired with an unusual trajectory wherein the missile reached an altitude of 1,312 miles and traveled 490 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan. This altitude allowed the scientists to test the atmospheric re-entry vehicle.
The launch tested the “guidance and stabilization systems” and the capabilities of the new engine. Additionally, it also tested the homing feature of the warhead that allowed it to survive “under the worst re-entry situation” and accurately detonate.
What Do Experts Say?
The new missile launched by North Korea was closely analyzed by several experts who believe that this was the longest-range missile that Pyongyang has ever tested. If it was fired at a standard trajectory, it could have a range of at least 2500-2800 miles.
John Schilling, an aerospace engineering specialist, said on the Washington-based monitoring project “38 North’s” website that this launch represented a level of performance never before seen from North Korea. Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, said,
“The missile may have a maximum range capable of reaching Alaska and Hawaii if it is fired at a standard angle.”
The pictures of the launch that appeared in Rodong Sinmun suggests the use of long nose-coned projectile which is similar to the KN-08 ICBM, a missile that North Korea is developing to become capable of striking U.S. Joshua Pollack of the U.S. based Nonproliferation Review, said, “this is an advanced missile if the claims are true.”
How is the World Reacting to North Korea’s New Missile Tests?
The tests have not only alerted U.S. of the potential dangers posed by Pyongyang, but it has also thrown the international community into a tizzy. Several leaders across the world openly condemned the launch and called for strict actions.
The U.S. called the North Korea’s new missile test, a message to the newly elected president of the South Korea. Notably, he had called for a dialogue with North while at the same time asked for maintaining the international pressure.
It is reported that two senior advisors to President Trump will meet Chung Eui-yong, South Korean President’s foreign policy adviser to discuss the latest missile tests by the North. The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said, “The greatest responsibility for bringing North Korea to its senses lies with China.”
Russian President, Vladimir Putin called the missile test as “dangerous” and also called for a peaceful resolution of the situation. He clarified that Russia was against nuclear proliferation, but asked the international community to stop intimidating North Korea.
It is believed that North Korea carried out the new missile tests to get more bargaining power while negotiating with the U.S. and South Korea. It is reported that Kim Jong-un advised his researchers and scientists to develop more nukes and prepare for more tests till U.S. makes the right choice.
[Featured Image by Wong Maye-E/AP Images]