A man looks at a TV screen broadcasting news of North Korea’s missile launch,in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov.29, 2017.After 2 ½ months of relative peace, North Korea launched its most powerful weapon yet early Wednesday, a presumed intercontinental ballistic missile that could put Washington and the entire eastern U.S. seaboard within range. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
SOUTH KOREA, Nov 29: After 2 ½ months of relative peace, North Korea launched its most powerful weapon yet early Wednesday, claiming a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that some observers believe could put Washington and the entire eastern U.S. seaboard within range.
The North said in a special televised announcement hours after the launch that it had successfully fired what it called the Hwasong-15, a new nuclear-capable ICBM that’s “significantly more” powerful than the long-range weapons it’s previously tested. Outside governments and analysts backed up the North’s claim to a jump in missile capability.
A resumption of Pyongyang’s torrid testing pace in pursuit of its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland had been widely expected, but the apparent power and suddenness of the new test still jolted the Korean Peninsula and Washington. The launch at 3:17 a.m. local time and midday in the U.S. capital indicated an effort to perfect the element of surprise and to obtain maximum attention in the United States.
In a government statement released through state media, North Korea said the Hwasong-15, the “greatest ICBM,” could be armed with a “super-large heavy nuclear warhead” and striking the “whole mainland” of the United States. The North said the missile, which was fired near the capital Pyongyang, reached a maximum height of 4,475 kilometers (2,780 miles) and traveled 950 kilometers (590 miles) before accurately hitting a sea target, similar to the flight data announced by South Korea’s military.
The North said the missile, which was fired at the “highest” launch angle, didn’t pose a security threat to its neighbors. It said leader Kim Jong Un after the successful launch “declared with pride” that the country has achieved its goal of becoming a “rocket power.” AP