North Korea mis­sile test ex­tends range to­wards US

The Guardian Weekly - - International news - Justin McCurry

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.

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