While Americans were enjoying their independence in the form of cookouts and time with friends and family, North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, was busy trying out a new missile, the Hwasong-14. United States officials have confirmed that this newest intercontinental ballistic weapon has the ability to reach Alaska.
It wasn’t a fluke that the missile was tested on the Fourth of July. The North Korean leader even made statements about it being a gift to Americans for Independence Day. He also mentioned that North Korea might need to do more tests like it in order to keep Americans from getting bored.
The Hwasong-14 traveled 578 miles and was aloft for 37 minutes, according to U.S. officials. Given its trajectory and time in the air, it has every potential to reach Alaska.
The purpose of this particular test wasn’t to see how far the missile could go, though Kim Jong-un is constantly pursuing his self-appointed mission to be the owner of a missile system that can launch a nuclear weapon to the United States mainland. Instead, this mission was to test the functions of the two propulsion stages and the assess the ability to maintain stability through the vibrations and intense heat that comes from re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to representatives from North Korea, the test was successful.
As much as we would like to offer a concrete glimpse of what exactly North Korea has in mind or is capable of, the instability of Kim Jong-un’s personality makes that glimpse all but impossible. Even if North Korea never designs a missile that can make it to the mainland or maintain stability through the trip, North Korea has a wealth of chemical and biological weapons at their disposal.
At one time, Trump was responding to the threat of North Korea by moving ships in more strategic placement and responding with threats of his own. Today, Trump is pushing China increase sanctions against North Korea in an effort to limit the testing and nuclear development. To date, North Korea has at least 12 nuclear bombs and missiles, all of which have the capability of hitting Japan and North Korea. America just happens to be his ultimate goal.