North Korea missile test extends range towards US
North Korea this week claimed to have conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a development that, if confirmed, could move it closer to being able to strike the US mainland and dramatically strengthen its hand in negotiations with Washington.
The claim, on Tuesday, contradicted reports by the US military that the North had test-fired an intermediate-range weapon. Analysts said data suggested the missile has the range to strike Alaska but not other parts of the US.
A North Korean TV newsreader said the missile had reached an altitude of 2,802km and flew 933km – longer and higher than the regime’s previous similar tests. Those figures roughly concurred with analysis by Japan and South Korea.
North Korea’s 11th launch this year came on the eve of the US Independence Day holiday and ahead of the G20 summit. Donald Trump recently met the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, in Washington, and held telephone discussions with China’s president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.