North Korea confirmed Thursday that it has launched its largest ICBM to date, the Hwasong-17.
The launch was met with intense international criticism. The powerful G7 nations – the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Britain and Japan – on Friday agreed to a strong condemnation.
The UN Security Council met later on Friday to discuss the response to North Korea’s latest provocation. The United States is demanding more sanctions on the country and on the leadership led by Kim Jong Un.
In January last year, leader Kim Jong Un presented his plans for future tests and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads was high on the agenda.
said Jeffrey Lewis, professor and director of the East Asian Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute in Monterey, California.
Reached a high level
According to the official North Korean News Agency, the robot, made on Thursday, reached an altitude of 6,200 km, but traveled a little more than 1,000 km to the east, before diving into the sea between North Korea and Japan.
Analysts estimate that the robot could reach the mainland United States with nuclear weapons.
– Yes, they shot almost straight. If you look at the speed it was supposed to achieve on the normal course, it should be able to travel more than 12,000 kilometers, which is more than enough to get anywhere in the US.
Trinidad and Tobago: Can the American robot defense eliminate it?
– number. The American robot defense only hits about 50 percent of the targets. The advantage of multiple warheads is that there will be more targets to shoot down. Usually, Lewis says, the United States will launch four robots, or each warhead.
He adds that sending a dozen special robots would cost huge sums if one thought that every ICBM in North Korea would contain three warheads.
It’s too low a cost for North Korea to be able to beat the US robot defense.
Lewis thinks South Korea’s response is impressive by launching robots from land, air and sea.
– I think robot tests are completely unwise. Because it is a test of the ability to kill Kim Jung-Un, before he can issue an order. We don’t want Kim Jong Un to be in a crisis, feeling he should use his nuclear weapons before killing him. It creates increasing pressure on him to act before it is too late.
South Korea says the country’s robots can destroy shooting ranges as well as command and support facilities through precision attacks. But according to Lewis, the short and medium-range robots involved cannot destroy the launch facilities before it’s too late.
– But what they can do, and what the next President (Yoon Seok Yeol) has said he can do, is the so-called decapitation attack, where they try to defeat the leadership before they have time to give the order to use nuclear weapons.
“You have to do something”
The defenses of both North and South Korea are based on acting before the other, which in a crisis situation increases pressure on countries to escalate, rather than trying to calm the situation, he said.
Trinidad and Tobago: Why is South Korea responding in this way?
– They have to do something. It is the most classic motive, that the government feels it must show that it protects its citizens. Even if it is ineffective, or in this case dangerous.
Although Kim now appears to have hit one of his big goals, it’s just the beginning, Jeffrey Lewis predicts.
According to his ambitious program, in addition to the latest robot – which may also be tested several times – he has pledged to test an ICBM using solid fuel, to get a military satellite into orbit, as well as to launch a nuclear submarine. So there will be more tests.
Trinidad and Tobago: Has North Korea been affected by the world’s interest in Ukraine?
– I don’t think he was impressed at all, Kim clearly presented his plans long before Ukraine happened.
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