News Live: North Korea tests suspected ICBM, latest ICBM can hit Washington and most of US
North Korea tests suspected ICBM, latest ICBM can hit Washington and most of US
North Korea fired what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed close to Japan, officials said, with some scientists cautioning that Washington, DC could now theoretically be within range of Pyongyang’s weapons, reports Reuters. The country fired the missile, its first launch since mid-September, a week after US President Donald Trump put it back on a US list of countries it says support terrorism.
The South Korean military said the missile, fired on a steep trajectory, reached an altitude of around 4,500 km and flew 960 km before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. “It went higher frankly than any previous shot they’ve taken, a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically,” US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said.
The Pentagon said its initial assessment was that an ICBM was launched from Sain Ni in North Korea and travelled about 1,000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. The missile did not pose a threat to the United States, its territories or allies, the Pentagon said.
Japanese officials said the missile flew for 53 minutes and broke up before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said it was judged to be ICBM class given its lofted trajectory.
“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 13,000 km… Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, DC, and in fact any part of the continental United States,” the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists said.
However, it was unclear how heavy a payload the missile was carrying, and it was uncertain if it could carry a large nuclear warhead that far, the non-profit science advocacy group added.
Minutes after the North fired the missile, South Korea’s military conducted a missile-firing test in response, the South Korean military said. (Picture courtesy: Gettyimages)