North Korea's missiles can reach most of the U.S.

Officials believe North Korea's latest test of ICBM shows it may be able to reach most of the continental United States.

Elad Benari,

North Korean flag
North Korean flag
Reuters

North Korea's latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has shown that Pyongyang now may be able to reach most of the continental United States, two U.S. officials told the Reuters news agency on Monday.

The assessment, which the officials discussed on condition of anonymity, underscored the growing threat posed by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea said on Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an ICBM that proved its ability to strike America's mainland.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the midnight launch of the missile on Friday night and called it a "stern warning" to the United States that it would not be safe from destruction if it tried to attack, the North's official KCNA news agency said.

The test followed a previous test of an ICBM which North Korea conducted on July 4. That ICBM had triggered global alarm, with experts saying the missile had a theoretical range that could reach Alaska.

Two U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Monday Kim wants to develop a nuclear-capable ICBM to deter any attack on his country and gain international legitimacy, not to launch an attack on the United States or its allies that he knows would be suicidal.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the U.S. assessment of the missile launch, even as it acknowledged that the latest test represented the longest test flight of any North Korean missile.

"The specifics of our assessment are classified for reasons I hope you understand," Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told a news briefing, acknowledging only that the missile could fly at least 5,500 km (3,420 miles), the minimum range for what the Pentagon classifies as an ICBM.

Two separate U.S. officials who discussed the latest test, which lasted about 45 minutes, said it showed greater range than the July 4 ICBM launch, which North Korea said lasted 39 minutes.

One of the officials said it had greater height, range and power than the previous test because it used force stabilizing engines, which counter the effects of winds and other forces that can knock an ascending rocket off course.

While North Korea had declared in the past that it could test-launch an ICBM “at any time” from any location set by Kim, it was impossible to determine whether any of its tests had been of an ICBM until the July 4 test.








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