North Korea claims it has a missile engine which could “put the den of evil in the United States, and all over the world, within our strike range.”
State media for North Korea said on Saturday that Kim Jong Un supervised an effective test of a new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to the Huffington Post. North Korea claims missiles now could reach the United States, but South Korea and the United States remain skeptical over whether North Korea has such capabilities.
Even amid skepticism, the United States and South Korea have conducted large-scale joint drills in response to missile testing North Korea has flaunted recently.
In January, North Korea conducted another test which resulted in a U.N. Security Council imposing new sanctions on North Korea in March to try and get the country to stop its testing of nuclear and missile technology and try to get North Korea back to the negotiations table, but efforts have been in vain, according to NPR.
According to Reuters, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency reported that the engine for an ICBM was ignited at the North Korean leader’s orders and then it gave a “fiery blast.” Resulting tests showed the domestically-made rocket reached expectations.
“Dear Comrade Kim Jong Un said now we can mount an ever more powerful nuclear warhead on a new intercontinental ballistic rocket and put the den of evil in the United States, and all over the world, within our strike range.”
The test was accomplished at North Korea’s missile station near the west coast.
North Korea says it has a ballistic missile that can reach the U.S., but the threat falls a little short for some experts in the States.
The United States believes North Korea has shown no significant proof that the country has nuclear capabilities. However, South Korea believes the North is at least several years away from developing nuclear weapons.
Despite the testing that North Korea has boasted, skeptics point out that the North has not yet pulled off a flight-test of a long-range missile or an ICBM and shown that they grasp the technology needed to bring a missile back into the atmosphere to accurately hit a target. Even though North Korea did test a hydrogen bomb in January, the United States and South Korea have said that the blast was too small to be of much success.
South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee knows that North Korea is set to hold a party congress in May and “in advance of that event, South Korea is bracing for additional surprises, and perhaps even an additional nuclear test.”
Steve Evans of the BBC says not to forget that North Korea is putting all of its ducks in a row.
“Step by step, North Korea is completing the tasks needed to have a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US,” Evans said.
In the meantime, the United States has told North Korea to focus its energy elsewhere.
“We call on North Korea to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further destabilize the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations.”
It is highly unlikely that North Korea would ever take advice from the United States, but many hope enough pressure put on North Korea may slow or halt its nuclear program before it gets out of hand.
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