Issue Brief on “North Korea’s ICBM Tests: Potential to hit the US”


North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 4 and 28, 2017. This has again raised fears that Pyongyang now has the ability to hit US mainland. Relations between the two countries have been tense for months with both exchanging threats that they would not hesitate to go to war.  North Korea was previously thought to be developing long range missile capabilities, that may be operational in a decade or so. However, with the latest Hwasond-14 test, the estimates of North Korea’s ability to hit US mainland have been revised. The threat posed by North Korean ICBMs seems more pressing. To top it up North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test on September 3, 2017 which appears to be a much powerful bomb than its previous ones. It is believed to be a hydrogen bomb. This indeed has heightened the threat perceptions of the West, especially the US. With the possibility that North Korea now has ballistic missiles that can reach the US mainland, the latest nuclear test poses a serious threat to the US.

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