North Korea announced Monday that it successfully tested a “newly-developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead,” deepening fears that Kim Jong Un could one day have a weapon capable of hitting the United States.
The test launch Sunday, the tenth so far in 2017, involved a “ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12,” according to North Korea’s state media agency KCNA.
Pyongyang also released video footage and photos of the launch, which show Kim grinning and celebrating after the missile jets off into the sky.
Official reports from South Korea, Japan, and the United States all state that the missile flew high and splashed down off North Korea’s northeast coast, near Russian territory.
The projectile flew nearly 500 miles, and the “test-fire was conducted at the highest angle in consideration of the security of neighboring countries,” according to North Korean state media.
That means the missile was basically shot straight up into the sky so that it wouldn’t threaten Japan.
Analysts were quick to calculate that if the missile were launched on a flatter trajectory, it could have a maximum range of about 2,800 miles, which would put U.S. military bases on the Pacific island of Guam within striking distance.
Hawaii is about 4,600 miles from North Korea, and California is roughly 5,800 miles away — both still considerable distances for a missile.