North Korea fires an­other mis­sile

Miami Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

re­peat­edly said he wants a nu­clear-tipped mis­sile that can reach the United States, but Amer­i­can in­tel­li­gence agen­cies had in re­cent days spot­ted prepa­ra­tions for an­other test.

The launch took place the day af­ter the an­niver­sary of the con­clu­sion of the Korean War, which ended in an ar­mistice but which Py­ongyang claims it won. The day is cel­e­brated in North Korea as “The Day of Vic­tory in the Great Father­land Lib­er­a­tion War.”

This lat­est provo­ca­tion com­pounds the prob­lem fac­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and North Korea’s neigh­bors: how to stop the Kim regime from mak­ing progress with its nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

On Wed­nes­day, the day be­fore the an­niver­sary of the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, North Korea threat­ened to launch a pre­emp­tive nu­clear strike against the United States.

“If en­e­mies mis­un­der­stand our strate­gic sta­tus and stick to op­tions of stag­ing a pre-emp­tive nu­clear at­tack against us, we will launch a nu­clear at­tack on Amer­ica’s heart as the most re­lent­less pun­ish­ment with­out warn­ing or prior no­tice,” Pak Yong Sik, North Korea’s de­fense min­is­ter, said at a cer­e­mony Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to the North’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency.

The test comes barely three weeks af­ter North Korea fired its first mis­sile tech­ni­cally ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the United States, launched as July 4 dawned in Asia.

That mis­sile, which North Korea called the Hwa­song-14 (or Mars-14), was fired from Panghyon, a north­west­ern part of the coun­try not far from the bor­der with China, and flew to an al­ti­tude of 1,741 miles — seven times as high as the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion. It landed 577 miles from its launch site, splash­ing down in the sea be­tween the Korean penin­sula and Ja­pan.

If fired on a tra­jec­tory de­signed to max­i­mize its range, rather than a “lofted” flight path, the mis­sile could have flown 4,970 miles, ac­cord­ing to the mis­sile de­fense project at CSIS. That would put Hawaii and Alaska within reach.

But an­a­lysts at the Cen­ter for Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Stud­ies in Cal­i­for­nia have sug­gested the mis­sile was ca­pa­ble of get­ting to New York City.

Jef­frey Lewis, head of the East Asia pro­gram at CNS, said the lat­est ap­par­ent ICBM test would have been de­signed to demon­strate that North Korea could hit more of the main­land United States.

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