On Wednesday morning local time, North Korea launched its newest intercontinental ballistic missile. Dictator Kim Jong-Un celebrated the successful test touting the progress of his nuclear program. Now, U.S. officials are concerned that D.C. is a viable target.
The ICBM, billed as the Hwasong-15, traveled higher and farther than any of Pyongyang’s previous missiles. The test comes after a two-month pause in testing that seemingly puzzled military officials.
North Korea’s state-run media broadcast news of the launch with a statement from Kim. “We have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.” He is quoted as saying. He also alleged once again that his missiles are capable of reaching all of the U.S.
Responding to the missile launch, Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned of the growing threat. “The bottom line is it’s a continued effort to build a…ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace and certainly the United States,” he said.
A Dire Situation
Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute in California, agrees the situation is dire. “If the numbers hold, this test will demonstrate a much further range than ever tested before,” Ms. Hanham told The Wall Street Journal.
Co-Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists David Wright concurred with Hanham’s assessment. Citing the trajectory of the latest ICBM, he confirms that, at lower flight levels, North America is easily within Kim’ reach.
If these numbers are correct, then if flown on a standard trajectory rather than this lofted trajectory, this missile would have a range of more than 8,100 miles,” said Wright. “Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States.
President Trump responded to the launch, telling reporters, “we’ll take care of it.” Months ago, global calls to halt Kim’s nuclear program resulted in stiff sanctions from the United Nations. News of the sanctions spread quickly in the capital city, leading to demands for war against the U.S.
Applying more pressure to the regime, the president declared North Korea a state-sponsor of terrorism last week.