North Korea has successfully incorporated nuclear power into its military, according to its state television. Pyongyang claims the new intercontinental missile, Hwason-15, can reach the „whole” US mainland.
The launch was announced in a special broadcast at midday, as well as in a report released by state news agency KCNA. Hwasong-15, an upgrade of the Hwason-14 intercontinental missile, was reportedly launched at 3 a.m local times from a mobile launcher in Pyongsong, in the South Pyongan Province.
Pyongyang states that the missile reached an altitude of 4,475 km (2,780 miles) and flew 950 km in just under an hour. The missile surpassed previous expectations including that of the South Korean military who responded with a „precision missile strike drill” matching the flight distance. According to Japanese officials, the Hwasong-15 did not fly over Japan as previous tests, and landed 250 km of Japan’s northern coast, within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un personally signed off on the launch, according to KCNA. According to them, this marks the completion of North Korea’s foray into becoming a nuclear power.
„…now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power”. Said KCNA.
While previous North Korean missiles were said to reach portions of the US mainland, the Hwasong-15 is considered by the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists as being capable of reaching „any part of the continental United States”. The group concluded that the missile could have traveled more than 13 thousand km on a standard trajectory. The distance between North Korea and the US is just over 10 thousand km.
The KCNA report states that the Hwason-15 intercontinental missile was built as a defense measure against „the US imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy,” and that it would not be fired upon any country unless North Korea was provoked.
Image Source: WikipediaCommons
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