North Korea's new ICBM likely broke up upon re-entry, USA official says

03 December, 2017, 01:37 | Author: Becky Perry
  • U.S. F-22 stealth fighter jets fly over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek South Korea

When North Korea conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile test on Tuesday, the Pentagon leader noted that Pyongyang continues to make attempts to create weapons that threaten peace in the region and the entire planet.

The country's state media announced the test on Wednesday, hours after leader Kim Jong Un ordered the launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile.

South Korea's Ministry of Defence said the Hwasong-15 missile tested on Wednesday was a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles), placing Washington within target range. That was the response Moon made when Trump asked him what he thought about North Korea's missile. After French Sports Minister Laura Flessel suggested if security was not guaranteed athletes would stay home, numerous NOCs attempted to counter that. Moon was apparently told that, while the missile can be classified as an ICBM in terms of distance traveled, its atmospheric reentry, precision guidance in the terminal phase and warhead operation were not demonstrated because the test launch was not actually carried out at the normal angle.

After North Korea released video footage and photographs of Hwasong-15, US based experts said it appeared North Korea was indeed capable of delivering a nuclear weapon anywhere in the United States and could only be two or three tests away from being combat ready. Before speaking on the phone with Trump, Moon reportedly was briefed on the Hwasong-15 by the National Security Office. In order to curb further provocations from the North, U.S. strategic assets will continue to be rotated on and near the Korean peninsula until the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next February, Yeo said.

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"So we're seeing more and more steps take place". In effect, Moon asked the USA not to resort to a preemptive strike when North Korea has not completed its development of ICBMs equipped with a nuclear warhead.

"Depending on how the United States moves next, South Korea could possibly expect a more negotiation-friendly North Korea in the next year, with a more positive approach towards inter-Korean cooperation".

But North Korea has "almost certainly" developed a nuclear warhead that weighs less than 700 kg, he added. "Their tone clearly shows their objective with the test: To show to the global community that they can no longer ignore North Korea as a nuclear state". After it tested two ICBMs in July, Mr Moon said Pyongyang would cross a red line by creating a nuclear-tipped ICBM, and this could risk tougher moves from the USA including military action.

"Being a nuclear state would mean they would go into negotiations with a much better bargaining power", Koivisto said.

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