After months of radio silence, North Korea has launched a ballistic missile—the largest and most successful of their tests thus far. Defense Secretary Mattis confirmed these reports in a statement given alongside President Trump on Tuesday.
“North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken. It’s a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world basically.”
North Korean media produced a special televised program, announcing their new Hwasong-15 nuclear-ready ICBM and celebrating its “significant” power over previously-tested missiles. Unlike many of the hermit kingdom’s baseless claims, outside governments analyzed and confirmed their claims.
Launching from Sain Ni, the weapon system traveled over 600 miles before returning to Earth and colliding into the Sea of Japan—and within Japan’s Economic Exclusion Zone.
America’s allied forces in South Korea delivered a powerful response, firing pinpoint missiles following Kim Jong-Un’s continued destructive nuclear behavior—sending a message that North Korea can and will be eliminated should they decide to cross the red line into what could be World War III.
Estimates currently peg yesterday’s launch at a top height of almost 2,800 miles. For context, the International Space Station hovers 250 miles above the surface of the Earth.
Perhaps most concerning of all, experts within the Union of Concerned Scientists determined that the launch now easily puts all of the U.S. within range of attack.
President Trump delivered very bold statements together with Mattis that suggest action may be eminent.
“I will only tell you we will take care of it. We have Gen. Mattis in the room with us, and we’ve had a long discussion on it. It is a situation that we will handle.”
Ultimately, the North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the launch did not provide an immediate threat imposing retaliatory action. However, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning of the Army assured the public that America’s alliance with Japan and South Korea remains “ironclad” and will be upheld at all costs in the face of “attack or provocation”.
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