Talking smack to someone like President Trump may not be wisest thing for Kim Jong-un to be doing:
The show of force came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that North Korea had launched an ICBM on Tuesday, reversing an initial U.S. assessment that it was an intermediate-range missile.
He also said the U.S. would push for tougher sanctions by the U.N. Security Council, which planned an emergency meeting later Wednesday to discuss the latest provocation.
“Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region and the world,” Tillerson said in a statement. “Global action is required to stop a global threat.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, meanwhile, reportedly called the ICBM test an Independence Day “gift” for the Americans and promised to send more “big and small gift packages often in the future so they don’t get bored.” [Stars & Stripes]
Kim Jong-un better hope that President Trump doesn’t send him some big and small gift packages in return.
Even though the US is calling this an ICBM test its maximum range of possibly 5,500 kilometers barely makes it an ICBM and analysis has not determined if the reentry technology worked or not:
South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense followed up on Tillerson’s statement hours later, announcing Wednesday that the missile was a “new type” of ICBM, apparently a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), also known as a KN-17, modified into a two-stage projectile.
An IRBM class missile has the capacity to fly between 3,000 and 5,500 kilometers (1,864 to 3,418 miles), shorter than an ICBM’s capacity of more than 5,500 kilometers.
But the ministry fell short of saying whether North Korea’s ICBM launch was successful, saying it was hard to confirm yet. Analysis of whether Pyongyang has perfected re-entry technology, a core part of a long-range missile that’s been considered the last hurdle for North Korea’s ICBM development, was still ongoing, according to Defense Minister Han Min-koo, who briefed lawmakers on the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee Wednesday. Han said the Hwasong-14, North Korea’s name for its ICBM, qualified to be an ICBM when considering its travel distance, but that the maximum speed was way below the threshold of Mach 20. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
At its maximum range the KN-17 puts Guam and parts of Alaska at risk. This is clearly significant progress, but the Kim regime has not perfected ICBM technology that can reliably strike the US mainland, yet. At this point it seems like it is only a matter of time if the US and the ROK allow the Kim regime to have that time.