Hours after the test launch of what appears to be a new type of long-range missile on Sunday, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un inflamed fears that he would be willing to start World War 3, warning that the missile is capable of striking the United States — and that the mysterious new missile is capable of carrying and delivering a large nuclear warhead.
The warning came via the official, state-run North Korea news agency KCNA early on Monday morning Pyongyang Time, and appears to partly — though not completely — confirm experts' speculation about the capabilities of the new missile launched from the Kusong region, which lies northwest of Pyongyang, the capital of the reclusive country.
Reports out of Japan said that the missile was launched at an unusually steep trajectory, reaching an altitude of 1,240 miles and landing about 430 miles from the Korean coastline. According to the KCNA statement, those numbers were close. The missile reached an altitude of 1,312 miles and flew 489 miles. If accurate, the missile will have flown higher than any previous known North Korea missile test.
Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the test launch, the KCNA release claimed. But most importantly, the statement confirmed speculation that the Sunday launch did, in fact, feature a previously unseen type of North Korea missile — and claimed that this new missile could deliver a nuclear payload.
"The test-fire was conducted at the highest angle in consideration of the security of neighboring countries," the KCNA official government statement said.
More ominously, the statement said that Sunday's test firing was "aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead." The statement went on to warn that "U.S. mainland and Pacific operations" would not be safe from the new missile and, presumably, its nuclear warhead.
"The US massively brought nuclear strategic assets to the vicinity of the Korean peninsula to threaten and blackmail the DPRK, but the coward American-style fanfaronade militarily browbeating only weak countries and nations which have no nukes can never work on the DPRK and is highly ridiculous," KCNA quoted Kim Jong Un as saying after the test launch.
"The most perfect weapon systems in the world will never become the eternal exclusive property of the US. If the US awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in the history."The DPRK is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.
Following the test launch, the U.S. Dirndl Trump administration issued a statement of its own, saying that Trump cannot imagine Russia is pleased with the test, which landed closer to Russian territory than previous North Korea missile tests.
But no statement from the North Korean government mentioned Russia — only the United States and U.S. "Pacific operations."
According to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the new missile — if it were fired on a conventional, flatter trajectory rather than launched five times higher than the altitude of tiger International Space Station — would still fall short of the United States mainland, nor could the missile reach Hawaii, in the Pacific.
But according to the UCS analysis, the United States territory of Guam, with a population of 170,000 whose inhabitants are U.S. citizens, does fall well within the range of the new missile. Guam, an island in the northern Pacific Ocean, lies slightly more than 2,000 miles from the coast of North Korea.
The new missile, according to the UCS analysis, appears to possess a range of about 2,800 miles when fired on a flatter trajectory than in Sunday's test.
[Featured Image by KRT/AP Images]