North Korea launches missile that could reach US distant bases

The launch was confirmed by the governments of South Korea and Japan.


North Korea launched of an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of reaching distant US bases, as reported by North Korean media. The projectile covered 1,002.3 kilometers in 4,415 seconds, reaching a maximum altitude of 6,518.2 kilometers before precisely hitting the East Sea.

This event marks North Korea’s first missile launch this year, occurring two months after claims of testing engines for a new missile with the potential to strike US targets. Analysts speculate that North Korea might increase provocative missile tests to influence South Korea’s April parliamentary elections and the US presidential election in November.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the missile launch, stating it flew towards North Korea’s eastern waters. South Korea, the United States, and Japan are collaborating on further details of the launch, while remaining militarily prepared.

Japan’s Defense Ministry also detected the suspected ballistic missile, suggesting it fell into the ocean. In mid-November, North Korea disclosed a successful test of solid-fuel engines for an intermediate-range ballistic missile, possibly targeting US military bases in Okinawa and Guam.

Solid propellants, utilized in this missile, enhance launch concealment compared to liquid-fueled missiles. North Korea possesses short-range solid-fuel missiles aimed at South Korea, but its existing intermediate-range missiles rely on liquid-fuel engines.

North Korea’s previous public missile launch occurred on December 18, testing the Hwasong-18 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. Recent aggressive rhetoric from North Korea includes labeling South Korea as the “main enemy” and threats of annihilation.

Kim Jong Un’s strategic objectives likely involve seeking rapprochement with South Korean liberals, maintaining a parliamentary majority, and supporting the potential re-election of former US President Donald Trump for possible concessions.

This heightened tension follows North Korea’s artillery barrage near the disputed maritime border with South Korea. Experts suggest Kim aims to expand the nuclear arsenal and deploy more spy satellites in response to perceived confrontational measures led by the United States.

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