North Korea Fires Suspected Long-Range ICBM Missile

North Korea Fires Suspected Long-Range ICBM Missile

( – While the United States and Europe combat Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion, the Biden administration has not made North Korea a priority. Since January, the Hermit Kingdom has conducted numerous missile tests designed to show off its emerging military capabilities as well as test a new, larger, more powerful, nuclear-capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). That’s despite crushing economic sanctions and internal struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Korea hasn’t fired a full-range ICBM since November 2017, but experts believe the Hwasong-17 is capable of delivering a nuclear blow anywhere inside the Continental United States. Now, a new missile is raising concerns North Korea’s military potency is strengthening, and there may not be much the US can do to stop it.

North Korea Fires New ICBM

On Thursday, March 24, North Korea launched a missile Japan believes was an ICBM. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered the government to allocate resources to gather and analyze data from the launch, provide fast information to the public, and ensure safe shipping and air lanes. The prime minister’s office added it would take all precautions, including potential military contingencies.

Japan’s coast guard said the missile fell just 105 miles from northern Japan, just outside its exclusive economic zone. The defense ministry said it flew for approximately 71 minutes and traveled 683 miles.

Over the last several months, US and South Korean officials signaled North Korea planned to launch an ICBM test at full range.

On January 17, the small communist nation fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile. On February 26, just a few days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the rogue nation launched a first-stage rocket for the Hwasong-17 – an ICBM that could hit anywhere in the US. It conducted tests again on March 4, 16, and 20.

New Missile Called a Monster

In October 2020, Kim Jong-un shocked the world when he revealed the pause of long-range missile tests was over and showed the massive Hwasong-17 missile for the first time. The missile can carry multiple nuclear warheads. The smaller Hwasong-15 can travel for approximately 8,080 miles, and the new larger missile can travel higher and farther.

The United Nations banned North Korea from building or testing ICBMs, and Kim Jong-un’s nation continues to face grueling economic sanctions for its pursuit of the military technology. Regardless of the crippling economic crisis the country faces, North Korea claims it must produce nuclear capabilities as a necessary deterrent to nuclear war.

What will the United States do in response?

The Biden administration is likely to repeat the pattern of issuing condemnations, adding more economic sanctions, suggesting more diplomacy is needed, and dialogue with China in hopes Chinese President Xi Jinping will exert pressure on Kim. After Thursday’s launch, the US called it a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres labeled the launch an escalation of tensions.

So, will economic pressure or diplomacy work?

It hasn’t to this point.

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