North Korea Claims New Missile Test Proves It is a Nuclear Power

A man in Seoul, South Korea, watches a local news report about North Korea’s missile launch on Wednesday.
Lee Jin-man/AP

North Korea says a new intercontinental ballistic missile tested on Wednesday proves it has a nuclear deterrent that can reach any target in the United States.

According to a statement from the Korean Central News Agency, the ICBM is capable of carrying a “super-large heavy warhead, which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S.”

The missile was launched in the early morning hours local time on Wednesday from a site near Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. It soared almost 2,500 miles into space and traveled a distance of around 620 miles east before crashing into the Sea of Japan. The total flight time of 53 minutes was longer than North Korea’s two previous ICBM tests.

The missile was lofted high into space on a “fly-ball” trajectory, as a way to avoid alarming neighboring nations. But independent analysts say that if it had been aimed differently, it could have traveled more than 8,000 miles.

“This range could cover all of the mainland United States, including Florida,” says Melissa Hanham, a senior researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif. “It’s a much farther range than they had ever demonstrated with their previous ICBM tests.”

In response to the test, President Trump tweeted that sanctions would soon be ratcheted up on the North.