North Korea says missile is able to carry large nuclear warhead

by Itunuoluwa Adebo

North Korea says the missile it tested Sunday is capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead, state media said Monday. Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, supervised the launch of the Hwasong-12 missile that reached an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers (1,312 miles) and flew 787 kilometers (489 miles).

State media (KCNA) said  the test was “aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead.” North Korea warned the United States not to provoke it, saying the “US mainland and Pacific operations” are within range of North Korean missiles. Analysts have referred to this as North Korea’s most successful missile test ever and a significant advancement in its quest to build a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Aerospace engineer John Schilling  wrote on the blog 38 North published by the US Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, “North Korea’s latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile.” The high altitude and long flight time, (30 minutes) the US said  indicate a missile with an extended range, according to David Wright, co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Wright pointed out that if the missile did reach that height and fly that far, it could reach the US territory of Guam in the Pacific.

The North has successfully launched long-range rockets twice to put objects into space. But many had believed it was some years away from mastering re-entry expertise for perfecting an ICBM, which uses similar engineering in early flight stages. Sunday’s missile launch also tested the North’s capability to carry a “large-size heavy nuclear warhead”, the state news agency said.

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