N. Korea tests an­other mis­sile

An­a­lysts say de­vice ca­pa­ble of reach­ing nu­mer­ous U.S. cities

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - ERIC TAL­MADGE AND MARI YA­M­AGUCHI In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Robert Burns and Hyung-jin Kim of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

PY­ONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea on Fri­day test- fired its sec­ond in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile, which flew longer and higher than the first, ac­cord­ing to its neigh­bors, lead­ing an­a­lysts to con­clude that a wide swath of the U. S., in­clud­ing Los An­ge­les and Chicago, is now within range of Py­ongyang’s weapons.

Ja­panese govern­ment spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga said the mis­sile, launched late Fri­day, flew for about 45 min­utes — about five min­utes longer than the ICBM North Korea test-fired July 4. The mis­sile was launched on very high tra­jec­tory, which lim­ited the dis­tance it trav­eled, and landed west of Ja­pan’s is­land of Hokkaido.

“We as­sess that this mis­sile was an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile, as had been ex­pected,” Pen­tagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in Wash­ing­ton.

An­a­lysts had es­ti­mated that the North’s first ICBM could have reached Alaska, and they said Fri­day that the lat­est mis­sile ap­peared to ex­tend that range sig­nif­i­cantly.

David Wright, a physi­cist and co-di­rec­tor of the global se­cu­rity pro­gram at the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists, said in Wash­ing­ton that if re­ports of the mis­sile’s max­i­mum al­ti­tude and flight time are cor­rect, it would have a the­o­ret­i­cal range of about 6,500 miles. That means it could have reached Los An­ge­les, Den­ver and Chicago, de­pend­ing on vari­ables such as the size and weight of the war­head that would be car­ried atop such a mis­sile in an ac­tual at­tack.

Bruce Klingner, a Korean and Ja­panese af­fairs spe­cial­ist at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion think tank in Wash­ing­ton, said, “It now ap­pears that a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the con­ti­nen­tal United States is within range” of North Korean mis­siles. Klingner re­cently met with North Korean of­fi­cials to dis­cuss de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, the foun­da­tion said.

Wash­ing­ton and its al­lies have watched with grow­ing con­cern as Py­ongyang has made sig­nif­i­cant progress to­ward its goal of hav­ing all of the U.S. within range of its mis­siles to counter what it la­bels as U.S. ag­gres­sion. There are other hur­dles, in­clud­ing build­ing nu­clear war­heads to fit on those mis­siles and en­sur­ing re­li­a­bil­ity. But many an­a­lysts have been sur­prised by how quickly leader Kim Jong Un has de­vel­oped North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams de­spite sev­eral rounds of U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sanc­tions that have squeezed the im­pov­er­ished coun­try’s econ­omy.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has said he will not al­low North Korea to ob­tain an ICBM that can de­liver a nu­clear war­head.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe called the launch a “se­ri­ous and real threat” to the coun­try’s se­cu­rity.

Suga said Ja­pan has lodged a strong protest with North Korea.

“North Korea’s re­peated provoca­tive acts ab­so­lutely can­not be ac­cepted,” he said.

A spokesman for Gen. Joseph Dun­ford, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Fri­day that Dun­ford met at the Pen­tagon with the com­man­der of U.S. forces in the Pa­cific, Adm. Harry Har­ris, to dis­cuss U.S. mil­i­tary op­tions in light of North Korea’s mis­sile test.

The spokesman, Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, said Dun­ford and Har­ris placed a phone call to Dun­ford’s South Korean coun­ter­part, Gen. Lee Sun Jin. Dun­ford and Har­ris “ex­pressed the iron­clad com­mit­ment to the U.S.-Repub­lic of Korea al­liance,” Hicks said, re­fer­ring to the U.S. de­fense treaty that obliges the U.S. to de­fend South Korea.

Abe said Ja­pan would co­op­er­ate closely with the U.S., South Korea and other na­tions to step up pres­sure on North Korea to halt its mis­sile pro­grams.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the mis­sile reached an es­ti­mated al­ti­tude of 2,300 miles be­fore land­ing at sea about 625 miles away. It ap­peared to be more ad­vanced than the ICBM North Korea pre­vi­ously launched, it said.

The Hwa­song 14 ICBM test-fired ear­lier this month was also launched at a very steep an­gle, a tech­nique called loft­ing, and reached an al­ti­tude of more than 1,550 miles be­fore splash­ing down in the ocean 580 miles away. An­a­lysts said that mis­sile could be ca­pa­ble of reach­ing most of Alaska or pos­si­bly Hawaii if fired in an at­tack­ing tra­jec­tory.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the mis­sile was launched from North Korea’s north­ern Ja­gang prov­ince near the bor­der with China. Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in presided over an emer­gency meet­ing of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, which called for an emer­gency meet­ing of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and stronger sanc­tions on North Korea.

There was no im­me­di­ate con­fir­ma­tion of the launch by North Korea. The day’s broad­cast on state-run tele­vi­sion had al­ready ended when the news broke at around mid­night Py­ongyang time.

In North Korea, July 27 is a na­tional hol­i­day called Vic­tory in the Father­land Lib­er­a­tion War Day, mark­ing the day when the ar­mistice was signed end­ing the 1950-53 Korean War. That ar­mistice is yet to be re­placed with a peace treaty, leav­ing the Korean Penin­sula tech­ni­cally in a state of war.

North Korea gen­er­ally waits hours or some­times a day or more be­fore an­nounc­ing launches, of­ten with a raft of pho­tos in the rul­ing party news­pa­per or on the tele­vi­sion news. Kim Jong Un is usu­ally shown at the site ob­serv­ing and su­per­vis­ing ma­jor launches.

AP

South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in pre­sides over an emer­gency meet­ing early to­day in Seoul. North Korea test-fired on Fri­day its sec­ond in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile, which flew longer and higher than its first ear­lier this month.

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