Mis­sile test. Lat­est flight puts a large por­tion of the U.S. within range. »

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Eric Tal­madge and Mari Ya­m­aguchi

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 wary 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 night, flew for about 45 min­utes — about five min­utes longer than the ICBM North Korea test-fired on 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.

An­a­lysts es­ti­mated that the North’s first ICBM could have reached Alaska, and said Fri­day 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 at least 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 think tank 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 Kim Jong Un has de­vel­oped North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams de­spite 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. But this week, the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency re­port­edly con­cluded that the North will have a re­li­able ICBM ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing a nu­clear weapon as early as next year, in an as­sess­ment that trimmed two years from the agency’s ear­lier es­ti­mate.

As­so­ci­ated Press file

This pho­to­graph from the North Korean govern­ment shows what it says is the July 4 launch of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile.

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