MIAMI (CBSMiami) — North Korea tested what it claims is an intercontinental ballistic missile with the power to possibly reach Alaska. It flew higher and longer than any previous test.
It was all cheers from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after his country’s latest missile test – this one a potential game changer.
State television reported it was a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)– a North Korean first. U.S officials now say all indications are that it was an ICBM.
The missile flew for nearly 40 minutes, reaching an altitude of about 1,500 miles before splashing into the Sea of Japan, roughly 600 miles from the launch site. With a potential range of 4,000 miles, it’s capable of reaching Alaska.
“It’s not much further than that for the 10,000 miles or so for it to reach New York or Washington, D.C. So North Korea is on pace to have a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States,” said Matthew Kroenig with the Georgetown Dept. of Government & School of Foreign Service.
President Donald Trump has reportedly warned China the U.S. will act on its own if Beijing doesn’t tighten economic pressure on North Korea but the president’s options for going it alone are limited.
“There’s very little you can do except sanction him every time he does something and build our missile defenses,” said Fmr. CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell.
Even direct talks with the North are unlikely to result in a nuclear-free North Korea.
“There is no way North Korea is going to abandon its nuclear weapons in the near term. In other words, denuclearization in the near term is impossible,” said Tong Zhao with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.
China and Russia issued a joint statement Tuesday calling for all parties to come to the negotiating table. They are proposing the U.S. and South Korea refrain from joint military exercises in the region in exchange for a halt on North Korean tests. That’s likely a non-starter for the U.S. since the military forces are there to protect American allies in the region.
The topic of North Korea is likely to come up at this week’s annual summit of G-20 leaders in Germany. It is expected President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the event.