Tuesday, 4 July 2017
North Korea says first intercontinental ballistic missile test successful
North Korea said on Tuesday it successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time, which flew a trajectory that experts said could allow a weapon to hit the U.S. state of Alaska. The launch came days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations were due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea's weapons programme, which it has pursued in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions.
The launch, which North Korea's state media said was ordered and supervised by leader Kim Jong Un, sent the rocket 933 km (580 miles) reaching an altitude of 2,802 km over a flight time of 39 minutes. North Korea has said it wants to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead capable of striking the U.S. mainland. To do that it would need an ICBM with a range of 8,000 km (4,800 miles) or more, a warhead small enough to be mounted on it and technology to ensure its stable re-entry into the atmosphere.
Some analysts said the flight details on Tuesday suggested the new missile had a range of more than 8,000 km, underscoring major advances in its programme. Other analysts said they believed its range was not so far.
"The test launch was conducted at the sharpest angle possible and did not have any negative effect on neighbouring countries," North Korea's state media said in a statement. The North said its missiles were now capable of striking anywhere in the world.