North Korea declares completion of nuclear force after missile test


PUBLISHED Tue, November 28, 2017 - 1:25pm EST
File photo (Credit: KCNA)


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared the completion of the country's nuclear force after the successful launch of a long-range missile capable of reaching all parts of the United States, making it the country's third and most advanced test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. (more)





The missile was launched at 2:48 a.m. local time on Wednesday from a site near Pyongsong in South Pyongan Province, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. It flew eastward and flew for about 53 minutes before falling into waters of Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ)..

North Korea said the missile reached an altitude of 4,475 kilometers (2,780 miles) and traveled a distance of 950 kilometers (1,529 miles), which makes it an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The numbers were confirmed by an initial assessment from the South Korean military.

The data suggests that the missile would be capable of reaching most of the world - except South America and parts of Africa - if flown at a standard trajectory. The North's missiles had previously demonstrated a capability to reach major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago, but the new missile puts the entire U.S. within reach.

A statement from the North Korean government claimed that the new missile, which is called Hwasong-15, is capable of carrying a super-large heavy warhead. "This system has much greater advantages in its tactical and technological specifications and technical characteristics than Hwasong-14," it said, calling the new missile its "most powerful" ICBM to date.

"After watching the successful launch of the new type ICBM Hwasong-15, Kim Jong Un declared with pride that now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power," the government said, calling the successful launch a "priceless victory" for the North Korean people.

The government added that its development of long-range missiles is to defend the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity against the "nuclear threat" from the United States. "As a responsible nuclear power and peace-loving state, the DPRK will make every possible effort to serve the noble purpose of defending peace and stability of the world," it said.

The South Korean military responded to Wednesday's test by launching a live-fire missile exercise near its eastern sea border with North Korea. The 20-minute drill, during which 3 missiles were fired at simulated targets off the eastern coast, began just 6 minutes after the North's missile launch.

North Korea's latest missile launch was immediately condemned by South Korea, Japan, the United States, and the European Union. The United Nations Security Council will convene an emergency meeting at 4:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday to discuss the international community's response.

In the United States, President Donald Trump would only say that the U.S. will "take care of it," but added that Wednesday's missile test had not changed his approach to North Korea. It's a "situation we will handle," he told reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the missile test and called on the international community to uphold economic and diplomatic sanctions. Additionally, Tillerson called for the UN Security Council to provide the right to interdict ships carrying goods to and from North Korea.

Wednesday's test followed indications from both Japan and the United States that North Korea was preparing to launch a missile, possibly as part of the army's winter training. The country's most recent missile launch happened on September 15, when it flew a missile over Japan.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been escalating for months, fueled by North Korea's frequent missile tests and its advancing nuclear weapons program, as well as U.S. military exercises and threatening statements by President Donald Trump.

North Korea test-fired two long-range missiles in July, including one which in theory is capable of reaching large parts of the U.S. mainland. North Korea also carried out its sixth and most advanced nuclear test to date on September 3, which led to a new round of UN sanctions.







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