There is a serious urgency around current U.S. relations with North Korea. Trump doesn’t seem to be helping the situation much especially after calling Kim Jong Un “short and fat” during his visit to Vietnam. The two have been exchanging school boy taunts since Trump referred to the North Korean leader as “Rocket Man” as he sat in the audience while Trump delivered a speech to the United Nations. He also threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.”
North Korea’s capacity to use nuclear missiles coupled with Trump’s idiocy and unpredictability is extremely volatile. Now, according to The Daily Beast:
‘North Korea test-launched what the Pentagon said was an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday, which experts assessed is capable of reaching the entire United States.’
Kim Jong Un may have succeeded in finally developing a missile that could actually strike U.S. targets. The Daily Beast reported:
‘Initial assessments indicate the missile could be the farthest-flying that Pyongyang has ever tested. The test also occurred at night in North Korea, a not insignificant development for a country striving to achieve a round-the-clock nuclear deterrent.’
According to the Pentagon, the launch happened around 1:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The missile traveled the long distance of 600 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan about 200 miles from the coast of Japan. A Pentagon spokesperson said:
‘We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment of the launch.’
The Daily Beast also reported:
‘The Tuesday rocket test apparently involved a Hwasong-14 rocket with two stages. The rocket was reportedly aloft for 54 minutes, a new record for Pyongyang. Missiles previously the North Koreans tested on July 4 and July 28 flew for just 37 minutes and 47 minutes, respectively.’
David Wright, who is a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Massachusetts, calculated some shocking information based on the data from the launch. The rocket reached a maximum altitude of 2800 miles so he further estimates that if the rocket was flown on a lower trajectory, that would extend its range making it able to travel a large distance of 8,100 miles from the launch site.
Wright eerily wrote:
‘Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States.’
Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, tweeted:
‘Mar-a-lago here we come.’
This was Pyongang’s 20th test of the year of a long-range nuclear capable rocket. The Daily Beast writes:
‘The North Korean regime conducted 24 rocket tests in all of 2016 and just 14 in 2015. The regime is reportedly making progress on miniaturizing a nuclear warhead so it will fit on a land- or sea-launched missile.’
Pyongang made its first nuclear weapon at an underground test site in 2006, and has tested five more since then.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made a statement saying that Trump
‘was briefed, while missile was still in the air, on the situation in North Korea.’
The Pentagon also issued a reminder that Tuesday’s missile test posed no immediate risk to the United States.
Here is a collection of what people had to say on Twitter:
Featured image by STR/AFP/Getty Images