Pyongyang : North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday said the second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated his country can hit the US 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 3,725 kilometers and traveled 998 kilometers 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, US and South Korean forces conducted live-fire exercises. South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo called for the deployment of strategic US military assets which usually means stealth bombers and aircraft carriers as well as additional launchers of an advanced US anti-missile system.
Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the missile, launched late Friday night, 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” US 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.
US, South hold live-fire exercise
WASHINGTON: The US and South Korean militaries conducted a live-fire exercise using surface-to- surface missiles in response to North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the US Army says.
The joint exercise, which occurred this morning South Korea time, came shortly after officials said that the heads of the US and South Korean militaries had discussed “military response options” after North Korea’s launch.
In a statement, the Army said the exercise involved the surface-to-surface Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and South Korea’s Hyunmoo Missile II.
The systems “fired missiles into territorial waters of South Korea along the East Coast July 5,” the Army said.