North Korea Successfully Tests ICBM

In news

North Korea said it had successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put all of the US mainland within range, declaring it had achieved its long-held goal of becoming a nuclear power.

Highlights

North Korea said the new powerful missile reached an altitude of around 4,475 km (2,780 miles) – more than 10 times the height of the international space station – and flew 950 km (600 miles) during its 53-minute flight.

Timeline

  • On July 4, North Korea launched its first ICBM, Hwasong-14, which reached an altitude of 2,802 km (1,741 miles) and a range of 933 km (580 miles) during a flight of 39 minutes, North Korea’s state media reported.
  • A second test of the Hwasong-14 on July 28 exhibited improved performance, with the missile flying for about 47 minutes to an altitude of 3,724 km (2,313 miles) and a range of 998 km (620 miles), according to state media.
  • The second flight showed the missile has a range of more than 10,000 km (6,213 miles), potentially putting the U.S. West Coast within range, analysts have said.
  • The previous two ICBM tests in July were launched from Panghyon airfield in North Pyongan Province, and in Mupyong-ni, Chagang Province, respectively.
  • Other, shorter range missiles have been launched from a variety of locations as well, including at least two intermediate-range ballistic missiles that flew over Japanese airspace in August and September.
  • The last of those missiles was launched at Sunan, just north of Pyongyang, from a “transporter erector launcher,” a road-mobile vehicle that can make it more difficult to track and target missiles before they are launched.

US Concern

  • The United States warned North Korea’s leadership it would be “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out after Pyongyang test fired its most advanced missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
  • The Trump administration has repeatedly said all options are on the table in dealing with North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear weapons programmes, including military ones, but that it still prefers a diplomatic option.
  • Speaking at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States had never sought war with North Korea.

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