North Korea: Mis­sile test puts much of U.S. in range

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By ERIC TALMADGE and MARI YAMAGUCHI The As­so­ci­ated Press

PY­ONGYANG, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said to­day that the sec­ond flight test of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile demon­strated his coun­try can hit the U.S. Main­land, hours af­ter the launch left an­a­lysts con­clud­ing that a wide swath of the United States, in­clud­ing Los An­ge­les and Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons.

The Korean Cen­tral News Agency said that Kim ex­pressed “great sat­is­fac­tion” af­ter the Hwa­song-14 mis­sile reached a max­i­mum height of 2,314 miles and trav­eled 620 miles be­fore ac­cu­rately land­ing in wa­ters off Ja­pan. The agency said that the test was aimed at con­firm­ing the max­i­mum range and other tech­ni­cal as­pects of the mis­sile it says was ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing a “large-sized, heavy nu­clear war­head.”

An­a­lysts had es­ti­mated that the North’s first ICBM on July 4 could have reached Alaska, and said that the lat­est mis­sile ap­peared to ex­tend that range sig­nif­i­cantly.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the launch, U.S. and South Korean forces con­ducted live-fire ex­er­cises. South Korean De­fense Min­is­ter Song Young­moo called for the de­ploy­ment of strate­gic U.S. mil­i­tary as­sets — which usu­ally means stealth bombers and air­craft car­ri­ers — as well as ad­di­tional launch­ers of an ad­vanced U.S. anti-mis­sile sys­tem.

Ja­panese govern­ment spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga said that the

mis­sile, which was launched late Fri­day, flew for about 45 min­utes — about five min­utes longer than the first. The mis­sile was launched on very high tra­jec­tory, which lim­ited the dis­tance it trav­eled, and landed west of Ja­pan’s is­land of

Hokkaido.

The KCNA quoted Kim as say­ing that the launch reaf­firmed the re­li­a­bil­ity of the coun­try’s ICBM sys­tem and an abil­ity to fire at “ran­dom re­gions and lo­ca­tions at ran­dom times” with the “en­tire” U.S. Main­land now within range. The agency said that the test con­firmed im­por­tant fea­tures of the mis­sile sys­tem, such as the proper sep­a­ra­tion of the war­head and con­trol­ling its move­ment and det­o­na­tion af­ter at­mo­spheric re-en­try.

Kim said that the launch sent a “se­ri­ous warn­ing” to the United States, which has been “mean­ing­lessly blow­ing its trum­pet” with threats of war and stronger sanc­tions, the KCNA said.

The North Korean flight data was sim­i­lar to as­sess­ments by the United States, South Korea and Ja­pan.

David Wright, a physi­cist and co-di­rec­tor of the global se­cu­rity pro­gram at the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists, said 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 or 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.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is­sued a state­ment con­demn­ing the mis­sile test as a threat to the world, and re­ject­ing North Korea’s claim that nu­clear weapons en­sure its se­cu­rity.

“In re­al­ity, they have the op­po­site ef­fect,” Trump said.

Trump said that the weapons and tests “fur­ther iso­late North Korea, weaken its econ­omy, and de­prive its peo­ple.” He vowed to “take all nec­es­sary steps” to en­sure the se­cu­rity of the U.S. and its al­lies.

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 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.

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.

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

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

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

The French For­eign Min­istry con­demned the launch and called for “strong and ad­di­tional sanc­tions” by the United Na­tions and Euro­pean Union.

“Only max­i­mal diplo­matic pres­sure might bring North Korea to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble,” the min­istry said in a state­ment.

“This is a 4G threat: global, grave, given and grow­ing,” said France’s U.N. Am­bas­sador Fran­cois De­lat­tre. “That’s why we call for a firm and quick re­ac­tion in­clud­ing the adop­tion of strong ad­di­tional sanc­tions by the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.”

A spokesman for Gen. Joseph Dun­ford, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said 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.

Navy Capt. Greg Hicks said that 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, too, said that 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.

The Hwa­song 14 ICBM test-fired ear­lier July 4 was also launched at a very steep an­gle, a tech­nique called loft­ing, and reached a height 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 that the mis­sile was launched from North Korea’s north­ern Ja­gang prov­ince near the bor­der with China. South Korean 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.

July 27 is a ma­jor na­tional hol­i­day in North Korea 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.

South Korea De­fense Min­istry photo via AP

The U.S. Army Tac­ti­cal Mis­sile Sys­tem fires a mis­sile dur­ing the com­bined mil­i­tary ex­er­cise be­tween the U.S. and South Korea against North Korea at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in South Korea to­day. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said to­day that the sec­ond flight test of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile demon­strated his coun­try can hit the U.S. Main­land, hours af­ter the launch left an­a­lysts con­clud­ing that a wide swath of the United States, in­clud­ing Los An­ge­les and Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons.

Kim

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