North Korea’s claim of successfully testing an ICBM means they may be able to reach Alaska. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@fantasticmrnate) reports.
President Trump reacted to North Korea’s latest missile test by ripping Kim Jong Un and urging China to “end this once and for all.”
North Korea claimed it successfully test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile Tuesday. Such a test would be a breakthrough in the isolated nation’s mission of developing the capability to reach the United States with a nuclear weapon.
Trump tweeted after the Pentagon confirmed the test took place — but before North Korea’s claim that it was an intercontinental missile. Still, Trump’s irritation at what has been a long series of missile and nuclear tests was clear.
“North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” Trump tweeted. “Hard to believe that South Korea … and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”
North Korea’s Academy of Defense Science said its test of an intercontinental Hwasong-14 missile marked the “final step” in creating a nuclear state capable of striking anywhere in the world.
In January, Pyongyang claimed it was close to developing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear blow to the U.S. Trump dismissed the claim then on Twitter: “North Korea claims that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”
After Tuesday’s test, Russia and China issued a joint statement reiterating their proposal that North Korea declare a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests — and the U.S. and South Korea temporarily refrain from large-scale military exercises in the region. The U.S. has routinely rejected that proposal.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in responded to North Korea’s claim by warning Kim to halt his provocations, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
“I hope North Korea will not cross the point of no return,” said Moon, who ordered his administration to discuss possible measures with the United Nations Security Council.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized North Korea for the launch, saying it “showed that the threat is growing.”
The test is the latest in a series that have put neighboring countries and the West on edge. North Korea tested nuclear explosive devices in 2006, 2009, 2013, and twice in 2016. The U.N. Security Council has issued a series of sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear program, but Kim has been undeterred.
It remains unclear whether Pyongyang has developed a nuclear warhead that can be transported on the missiles. Pyongyang has conducted at least eight missile tests this year alone. Here’s a timeline on North Korea’s major missile tests in 2017:
The North conducts a successful launch of the new Pukguksong-2 intermediate range missile that travels 310 miles.
Four medium-range missiles were launched from a test site near North Korea’s border with China. Some flew about 620 miles, landing about 185 miles off the coast of Japan.
A mobile launched missile exploded seconds after launching.
A KN-17 missile was launched but landed in the Sea of Japan after traveling 34 miles.
Another missile explodes shortly after its launch.
A KN-17 missile traveled 21 miles, breaking up in midair.
A missile flies for 30 minutes and 435 miles, reaching an unusually high altitude of about 1,200 miles, before landing in the Sea of Japan.
A new type of cruise missile is tested that Pyongyang says is capable of striking U.S. and South Korean warships.
Contributing: Jim Michaels, Jane Onyanga-Omara
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