North Korea’s previous attempts to develop a missile that could actually fly were pretty much just annoyances, because they couldn’t muster the steam to make it across the street, let alone across the continent.
Now things have changed. And it seems Kim Jong Un has a ICBM that could reach Alaska.
Let’s start with a report from The Guardian:
North Korea claims to have conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) , a development that, if confirmed, could move the regime closer to being able to strike the US mainland and dramatically strengthen its hand in negotiations with Washington.
South Korean and Japanese officials said they were studying the data to confirm whether or not it was an ICBM, but analysts said it appeared the missile had the range to strike Alaska but not other parts of the continental US.
Later there were reports in the US that officials believe North Korea may have fired its first intercontinental missile, though there was no official public statement from the US about this.
… the missile had reached an altitude of 2,802km (1,741 miles) and flew 933km (580 miles) – longer and higher than any of the regime’s previous similar tests. Those figures roughly concurred with analysis by Japanese and South Korean officials.
Early indications were that the missile was a single-stage device.
But later, NBC News cited two unnamed US officials saying they now believed it was “two stage”, and CNN quoted one official saying it was a “probable” ICBM and that the ongoing assessment suggested a second-stage booster did ignite and produced additional flight for 30 seconds.
FOX News added this:
“The threat is much more immediate now,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters prior to the launch. “So it’s clear we can’t repeat the same failed approach of the past.”
He added: “So the president has directed us not to do that, and to prepare a range of options — including a military option, which nobody wants to take, right?”
This image made from video of a news bulletin aired by North Korea’s KRT on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, shows what was said to be the preparation of the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea’s northwest. (KRT via AP Video)
Vice Adm. James Syring, the director of the Missile Defense Agency, previously said, if it didn’t already exist, it would only be a matter of time until North Korea was able to attack the U.S.
As things heat up, it will be interesting to see who steps up.