The missile flew for 45 minutes and reached an altitude of 2,300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan. But if its trajectory had been toward the U.S. – and not straight up — it likely would have had enough fuel to reach cities throughout the nation, experts say.
38North, a project of The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, posted an assessment noting that “if flown on a flatter trajectory, this missile could reach as far as 9,000 to 10,000 km.” That’s 5,600 to 6,200 miles. Denver is roughly 6,000 miles from North Korea, Chicago 6,341.
Friday’s launch was apparently timed to coincide with the 74th anniversary of the end of the Korean War in 1953, The Washington Post reported.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is attempting to develop a missile with multiple nuclear warheads.
The Hwasong-14 missile tested on Friday is theoretically capable of reaching targets in the Rocky Mountain West or the Midwest. That would include not only Denver and Chicago but also Colorado Springs, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Milwaukee – as well as cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“My guess is that they want to show more range,” Jeffrey Lewis of the Center for Nonproliferation (CNS) studies said. “We basically dared them to do this. We said, ‘It’s not really an ICBM until it can hit Alaska, and they’re, like, ‘OK.’”
Analysts at the CNS believe the Hwasong-14 might be capable of reaching targets on the East Coast, including New York and Washington, if and when it is perfected. Lewis believes the North Koreans are trying to show the Pentagon that they can build a workable ICBM.
It was the second time in a month that North Korea has tested a Hwasong-14. There was another test on the Fourth of July.
This week, North Korea’s defense minister warned the U.S.
“If enemies misunderstand our strategic status and stick to options of staging a preemptive nuclear attack against us, we will launch a nuclear attack on America’s heart as the most relentless punishment without warning or prior notice,” he said.
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