North Korea tested a powerful new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Wednesday that experts say can reach any location on Earth.
The Hwasong-15 missile has a range of 8,100 miles — enough to hit any target in the United States.
“Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States,” said David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The Hwasong-15 was reportedly launched from a mobile launcher outside the North Korean capital of Pyongsong, and flew 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) to 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles) in the air before crashing into the Sea of Japan, CNN reported.
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U.S. Defense Secretary General James Mattis conceded that the Hwasung-15 gives North Korea the ability to hit “everywhere in the world.”
“The bottom line is, it’s a continued effort to build a threat — a ballistic missile threat — that endangers world peace, regional peace and certainly the United States,” Mattis concluded.
“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken,” Mattis added.
The Hwasong-15 is capable of carrying a “super-large heavy warhead, which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S.,” according to a statement from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.
“This range could cover all of the mainland United States, including Florida,” Melissa Hanham, a senior researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told National Public Radio (NPR).
Other experts agreed.
“I think they’re confident now that they can hold the U.S. Eastern Seaboard at risk, which is a big deal,” said Vipin Narang, an assistant science professor at MIT.
Narang believes that New York is North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s ultimate target.
“Do they need to hit New York with certainty and accuracy? No. A 30 percent chance that they can park one on the Upper East Side is enough to deter us,” Narang said.
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