Experts from the US, South Korea and Japan are saying that an intercontinental ballistic missile tested by North Korea Friday may be able to reach major cities in the United States. The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni, near North Korea’s border with China, flew about 45 minutes, going 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) high and for a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
David Wright, a missile expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says, if it had been fired on a standard trajectory, it could easily hit cities like Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago and might even reach New York City and Boston. The weight of the payload, he said, is also a determining factor on its range.
South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said the missile tested Friday is more advanced than the last one they fired off last month.
Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency on Saturday said the latest missile launch was a Hwasong-14, and that Washington should regard the launch as a “grave warning.”
The President took time from his busy day of firing his latest team member to say a few words in response.
“Threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,” said Trump. “The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”
Reaction was swift in the region, with US and South Korean military conducting a live fire exercise as a show of force. China also responded with a statement condemning the test and beseeching their longtime ally to stop escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula.
“The UN Security Council has clear regulations on North Korea’s launch activities that use ballistic missile technologies. China is opposed to North Korea’s launch activities in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and against the will of the international community,” a statement from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke out as well, putting the onus on China and Russia to lean on North Korea.
“As the principal economic enablers of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability,” Tillerson said in a statement.
This is why elections matter. As North Korea’s missile and nuclear capabilities grow by leaps and bounds, we’ve got an impulsive, lunatic man-child as our president. So far, there has been no concrete strategy coming out of the White House on how to deal with North Korea, aside from his futile reliance on China to step in and solve the problem. To be sure, there are only two options – engage with North Korea in this nuclear dance of destruction or accept them as a nuclear power and afford them the respect that entails. Personally, I’d rather allow them a seat at the global table than be vaporized.
As Trump continues to flail impotently, lashing out on Twitter like a child, we are now facing an urgent and existential threat. It’s time to get real about it all – and do something about it.