North Korea’s Night Time ICBM Test Shows They Can Launch at Any Time & Any Place

It is pretty clear that the Kim regime is signaling to the US that they can launch an ICBM at any time and any place of their choosing with the midnight launch of their latest ICBM:

Korean Central Television’s footage of North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ballistic missile on July 28, 2017

North Korea’s state-run television on Saturday disclosed edited footage of its test-fire of an intercontinental range ballistic missile conducted the previous night.

According to the video footage that runs 2 1/2 minutes, the Hwasong-14 missile was moved on a transport erector launcher, known as a TEL, before being fired from a ground-based launch pad.

The method of launch was similar to one disclosed in separate TV footage released on July 5 following North Korea’s first intercontinental range ballistic missile launch.

Earlier, Pyongyang’s official KCNA claimed that the North successfully launched another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Friday night following its first test in early July, noting that the missile flew 998 kilometers for about 47 minutes into the East Sea after reaching a maximum altitude of 3,724.9 km.

In the footage unveiled by Korean Central Television, a TEL with eight wheels on each side drove slowly to the launch pad in Mupyong-ri in the country’s northern province of Jagang, carrying the Hwasong-14 missile aboard.

The missile was then placed upon the ground-based launcher and erected to an upright position.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link and below is a Youtube video showing the launch of Hwasong 14:

US and South Korea Respond with Live-Fire Exercise After North Korea Tests 2nd ICBM

I will wait to hear what the US military releases publicly about how successful the warhead for this ICBM was before I believe anything the Kim regime puts out:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Saturday the second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated his country can hit the U.S. mainland, hours after the launch left analysts concluding that a wide swath of the United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons.

The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim expressed “great satisfaction” after the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum height of 3,725 kilometers (2,314 miles) and traveled 998 kilometers (620 miles) before accurately landing in waters off Japan. The agency said that the test was aimed at confirming the maximum range and other technical aspects of the missile it says was capable of delivering a “large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead.”

Analysts had estimated that the North’s first ICBM on July 4 could have reached Alaska, and said that the latest missile appeared to extend that range significantly.

Immediately after the launch, U.S. and South Korean forces conducted live-fire exercises. South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo called for the deployment of strategic U.S. military assets — which usually means stealth bombers and aircraft carriers — as well as additional launchers of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the missile, launched late Friday night, flew for about 45 minutes — about five minutes longer than the first. The missile was launched on very high trajectory, which limited the distance it traveled, and landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido.

The KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the launch reaffirmed the reliability of the country’s ICBM system and an ability to fire at “random regions and locations at random times” with the “entire” U.S. mainland now within range. The agency said that the test confirmed important features of the missile system, such as the proper separation of the warhead and controlling its movement and detonation after atmospheric re-entry.  [Associated Press]

You can read more at the link, but if the Moon administration is now asking for the deployment of the four additional THAAD launchers doesn’t this mean that the current delay is entirely political?  The supposed environmental concerns delaying the emplacement of the four launchers doesn’t just go away after North Korea tests an ICBM unless there was never any serious environmental concerns in the first place.

North Korea Believed to Be Readying Next Missile Test for Anniversary of Korean War Armistice

It looks like the next missile test for North Korea could occur on July 27th the anniversary for the signing of the Armistice Agreement ending the Korean War:

“North Korea seems to be boasting of its plan to develop Pukguksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missiles that have become shorter but have higher engine output.”

Concerns of another ballistic missile test are looming as CNN recently reported satellite imagery and satellite-based radar emissions indicate Pyongyang may be testing components and missile control facilities for an intercontinental ballistic missile or intermediate range missile launch within the next two weeks.

There are forecasts Pyongyang could forge ahead with another provocation sometime around July 27th, the day of the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement that brought a ceasefire in the Korean War, and which is also the day when South Korea’s military said they will wait until for a response on proposed inter-Korean military talks.  [Arirang]

You can read more at the link.

President Trump Says “Something” Will Have to Happen in Response to North Korea ICBM Test

Here is the latest on President Trump’s reaction to the recent North Korean nuclear test:

US and ROK Militaries Conduct Long Range Missile Live Fire In Response to North Korean ICBM Test

Here is the US and ROK’s response to the recent ICBM test conducted by North Korea:

South Korea’s Hyunmoo-2A ballistic missile, left, and the U.S. Army’s MGM-140 Tactical Missile are fired into the East Sea from an undisclosed location on South Korea’s east coast during a joint missile drill, Wednesday, aimed to counter North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile test conducted Tuesday. / Yonhap

South Korea and the United States fired ballistic missiles in a joint drill aimed at striking the North Korean leadership, Wednesday.

The live-fire exercise was an armed reaction to the North’s purported successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) conducted Tuesday.

President Moon Jae-in issued the missile firing order after getting consent from U.S. President Donald Trump, Cheong Wa Dae said.

This marked the first time for the allies to conduct a ballistic missile drill in response to the North’s missile threats, Defense Minister Han Min-koo said in a National Assembly session.

Issuing the order, Moon said the allies needed to demonstrate their joint defense posture “with action not just words,” according to chief press secretary, Yoon Young-chan.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Seoul and Washington fired their Hyunmoo-2A and the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) ballistic missiles, respectively, into the East Sea at 7 a.m.

Both the Hyunmoo-2A and ATACMS are surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 300 kilometers.

Trump backed Moon’s order, saying he respects Moon’s willingness to deter the North’s provocation with action, Yoon said.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link as well as view video footage of the fire power demonstration below:

North Korea Claims to Have Tested an ICBM While Russia and China Call for a Freeze Deal

I predicted that the North Koreans would commit a provocation in response to the Trump-Moon summit in Washington, DC and the Kim regime of course delivered:

A North Korean Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile is launched in this photo released by the North’s state-run Korean Central TV, Tuesday. The launch took place near Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, at 9:40 a.m. / Yonhap

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday warned North Korea not to cross a “red line” after it claimed a successful test of its first intercontinental ballistic missile.

Moon urged the North to immediately halt its provocations, saying he is not sure what kind of consequence the communist state will have to face if it crosses the “red line.”

“I hope North Korea will not cross the point of no return,” the South Korean leader said in a meeting with former British Prime Minister David Cameron, according to his chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan.

His remarks came shortly after he ordered his top security officials to seek “UN Security Council measures” in close cooperation with the country’s allies, including the United States in an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.

North Korea launched what initially appeared to be an intermediate range missile at 9:40 a.m.

Later, the North’s official media said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed an order to test launch a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) the day before, also claiming the success of its launch.

Moon earlier noted the North may develop an ICBM in the “not too distant future.”

The North Korean reports said the new ICBM, Hwasong-14, reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers, and flew 933 kilometers.

When launched at the right angle, the missile could reach up to 8,000 km, experts have noted.

Moon, even prior to the North Korean reports, told his security officials to handle the latest provocation as if it were an ICBM.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but the Korea Times is reporting the missile could have up to a 10,000 kilometer range.  However, USFK reported in the same article that the missile was an intermediate range ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers.  US Pacific Command is reporting a range from 3,000 to 5,500 kilometers.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central TV released photos of launching a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday. From left; North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches the missile test through binoculars; a transporter erector launcher (TEL) sets up the missile to launch; the missile blasts off. [YONHAP]

These ranges are important because if it is an 8,000 kilometer range than Hawaii and Alaska are within range.  If it is a 10,000 kilometer range than the US mainland is within range.  Not that Hawaii and Alaska are less important than the US mainland, but I think being able to credibly strike the US mainland does make a difference in regards to US response options.  If the range is 5,000 kilometers then strategically nothing has really changed.  It just means that Guam remains within range of North Korea’s missile threat which is why a THAAD battery is deployed to protect the island.

Google Earth image showing estimated distances from North Korea to US targets

In response to this latest test China and Russia are calling for North Korea to freeze their weapons program in exchange for the US and the ROK scaling down their bilateral military exercises:

Russia and China have proposed that North Korea declare a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests while the United States and South Korea refrain from large-scale military exercises.

The call was issued in a joint statement by the Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministries on Tuesday following talks between President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.  [Daily Mail]

This is something the Trump administration is going to hear more and more to do.  I hope President Trump does not get suckered into this without severe measures for non-compliance.  Like I have said before, a freeze deal may be something for the Trump administration to pursue if non-compliance by the Kim regime authorizes a pre-emptive strike against North Korea.  Language in the deal would also make it quite clear the pre-emptive strike is not for regime removal, but to target the Kim regime’s weapons programs.  The Kim regime cheated on all the past deals and will assuredly cheat on a freeze deal without the credible threat of force.

North Korea Claims It is Preparing for an ICBM Test in the Near Future

It will be interesting to see if President Trump enforces his redline against a North Korean ICBM test because it looks like the Kim regime is testing the waters to see what the Trump administration’s response will be to this:

North Korea’s official newspaper claimed Saturday that a test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile is not far away.

“The series of recent strategic weapons tests show that we are not too far away from test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile,” the Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial.

The claim indicates the regime has continued to advance its missile technology since its leader Kim Jong-un said during his annual address on Jan. 1 that the regime was in the final stage of developing ICBM technology.  (…..)

“The great success of test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile, which we are sure to achieve, will mark a historic watershed moment in the failure of the U.S. hostile policy against us,” the editorial in the ruling Workers’ Party’s mouthpiece read. “Historically speaking, the U.S. has never dared to go to war with a country that possesses nuclear weapons or ICBMs.”  [Yonhap]