North Korea has claimed that it has successfully test-fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 into waters near Sea of Japan. The claim was confirmed by United States.
The launch appeared to be North Korea’s most successful missile test since its ballistic missile programme gathered pace in the late 1990s. The successful test also marks North Korea’s the final step in becoming confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth.
Based on missile’s height and trajectory path, US scientists claim that missile could potentially be powerful enough to reach Alaska. The missile had reached an altitude higher and flew longer than any of the North Korea’s previous similar tests. The missile had landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
US has strongly condemned the launch and added that it will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. The ICBM testing represents a new escalation of the threat to US and its allies and partners, the region and the world.
What is Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)?
An ICBM is a missile launched by a land-based system that is intended to carry nuclear payloads. To qualify as an ICBM, a missile must have a minimum range of 5,500km. The most significant difference between an ICBM and other ballistic missiles is its greater range and speed. It enables countries to strike exceptionally distant targets with minimum warning.
What are experts saying about the North Korean claim?
Analysis by South Korea and Japan has supported the account given by North Korea, which said the missile reached an altitude of 2,802km and flew 930km. The US initially had described it as an intermediate-range missile but later conceded it was an ICBM. North Korea will be 8th nation in the world to successfully test ICBM. Other countries that have ICBM technology are US, Russia, China, UK, France, Israel and India.