North Korea said it has successfully conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile and claimed it has reached a milestone in its efforts to build nuclear weapons capable of taking out the United States, New York Times reports.
The announcement from the DPRK came hours after the missile was launched for a reported 37 minutes. United States Military analysts suggest that the duration of the test suggested a significant improvement in the range of the North Korea’s missiles, and one might travel as far Alaska.
The United States Pacific Command and State Department first described the weapon as an intermediate-range missile and not an intercontinental ballistic missile.
According to the Japanese government, the missile landed in its exclusive economic zone off its western coast. This test was the first missile test since it launched land-to-sea cruise missiles off its east coast on June 8.
While the North is believed to have made significant progress in its weapons programs, experts believe it still has a long way to go in miniaturizing nuclear warheads for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The missile test taunts the United States administration’s efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. After North Korea claimed earlier this year that it was close to an ICBM test launch, Trump took to Twitter and said, “It won’t happen!
According to New York Times, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Jeffrey Lewis said the missile looked like the longest-range missile that North Korea had ever tested, and its long flight time was “more consistent with an ICBM that can target Alaska and perhaps Hawaii”.
“It’s a very big deal — it looks like North Korea tested an ICBM,” he said by email. “Even if this is a 7,000-km-range missile, a 10,000-km-range missile that can hit New York isn’t far off”.
North Korea referred to the missile test as “a momentous event in the history of the country” and a “great joy” to North Koreans.