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Kim’s “Hwasong-15” Could Reach Washington, Proclaiming Itself A “Nuclear State”



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Nov 29 2017
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After more than a two-month pause, the Rocket Man Kim has done it again after North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Tuesday. This was the first ballistic missile test by Pyongyang since the hermit state launched a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile on September 15. This round, however, a longer range Hwasong-15 is used, as claimed by the North.

 

According to the state-run North Korean Central Television (KCTV), the missile has technical capabilities far superior to the previous Hwasong-14 and landed in its targeted area, flying 950 kilometres (590 miles). However, in what appears to be a challenge to President Trump, the latest missile fired by the North Korea clearly shows it has the ability to hit every part of the United States.

 

Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning said – “Initial assessment indicates that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile.” Defense Secretary James Mattis said – “The missile went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken” and demonstrates that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un now has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world basically.”

North Korea Test Hwasong-15 Ballistic Missile - Longest Range

Indeed, the latest ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), fired during the middle of the night in North Korea, spent around 53 minutes in the air, reaching a height of up to 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles), before splashing down in waters west of Japan’s Aomori prefecture. Analysts and experts believe this is “just the tip of the iceberg” as far as the hermit kingdom’s missile capabilities are concerned.

 

According to David Wright, co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, if the missile had flown on a standard trajectory rather than Tuesday’s lofted trajectory, it would have a range of more than 13,000 kilometres. Essentially, such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental U.S.

 

The good news is nobody knows if Kim’s rocket was tested with dummy payload onboard so the U.S. assumed it didn’t. More importantly, it’s not clear if it can carry a nuclear warhead and travel to the range of 13,000 kilometres. Without the information on how heavy a payload the missile was carrying, if there was one to begin with, the world will not be able to assess the missile’s range.

Washington Hit By Nuclear Bomb - North Korea Hwasong-15

Regardless, experts in general agree that Pyongyang has made significant technological progress on its missiles. The White House said that President Donald Trump was briefed while the missile was still in the air. Nevertheless, no effort was being made to shoot down the missile, despite Trump’s assurance with U.S. technology; Japan could easily shoot them out of the sky.

 

Before Trump’s arrival in Japan as part of his 5-nation trip to Asia recently, the U.S. president had questioned Japan’s decision not to shoot down the missiles. He said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot it down, when Japan should have had done so after missiles flew over the country before landing in the Pacific Ocean earlier this year.

 

Prior to the latest ballistic missile test, North Korea had fired 22 missiles without active warheads during 15 tests since February this year. In reality, without Trump realizing it, the altitude and speed of North Korea missiles would have made it very difficult to destroy, while failure would have been embarrassing for Japan and encouraging to North Korea.

THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) Missile Systems - Launching

Missile expert Joe Cirincione had previously revealed that any attempt to hit the North Korean intermediate-range ballistic missile was problematic since it was already too high for US-made Aegis, Patriot or Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile systems to destroy. In short, neither the U.S. nor the Japan could convincingly shoot down North Korea’s ballistic missiles.

 

Philip Coyle, a senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, also gives the U.S. defence system an “F.” He said the failure rate of missile tests is more like 60% since 2002. Coyle said – “It’s not effective, not only because the success rate has been so poor in flight-intercept tests, but because those tests are scripted for success.

 

The Pentagon doesn’t want to see its tests fail, which would make the system look bad. The Missile Defense Agency does everything they can to make the geometry of the test as realistic as possible within the limitations of range safety and other things. The U.S. also would have trouble dealing with North Korea launching decoys, such as balloons or radar-deflecting devises.

United States and South Korea Military Alliance - Flags

The U.S. can’t afford to go to war as well. A retired U.S. general, Rob Givens, revealed to the Los Angeles Times the catastrophic scenario in case of a war in the region. Pentagon apparently had run the simulation and the picture isn’t sexy. A war with North Korea could result in about 20,000 deaths – per day – in South Korea, and that’s just a conventional war.

 

After successfully testing its new “Hwasong-15” intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korea has self-proclaimed itself as a “nuclear state”. Kim regime also claims it has now in possession of the weaponry system (Hwasong-15) capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S. It also said the weapon would defend the North against the “US imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat”.

 

In response to the North Korea’s latest test, U.S. President Donald Trump could only say – “It is a situation that we will handle. We will take care of it.” He offered no further details. The test came just days after Mr. Trump put North Korea back to America’s list of state sponsors of terror and unveiled new sanctions targeting its shipping, a move which angered Mr. Kim.

North Korea Kim Jong-un - Laughing After Successful Missile Test

 

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