Wednesday, North Korea tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to date. After landing in the Sea of Japan, expert analysis of the missile’s height indicated the weapon to be capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s public assurances to the contrary, North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, has developed a weapon that directly threatens the United States.
North Korea claimed the missile, Hwasong-15, can carry a “super large heavy warhead,” and stated the ICBM capable of reaching the U.S. On state-run television, well-known newsreader, Ri Chun Hee, delivered an assessment.
“This missile is far more technologically advanced than July’s Hwasong-14. This signifies that our rocket development process has been completed.”
In September, North Korea’s foreign minister said a strike upon the U.S. mainland was “inevitable.”
Before landing inside Japan’s Economic Exclusion Zone, Hwasong-15 reached a height of 2,800 miles. This height exceeds the altitude of the International Space Station tenfold. Experts agreed the missile showed North Korea’s ability to strike anywhere within the U.S.
Earlier statements from Trump showed the president’s belief that North Korea was incapable of developing an ICBM. On Jan. 2, 2017, Trump tweeted:
“North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
North Korea proved Trump incorrect.
When questioned, Trump seemed more concerned with U.S. domestic policy, highlighted by two nearby empty chairs symbolizing Democratic Party rivals. However, the president offered vague assurance. He said, “We will take care of it.”
Other major nations also condemned North Korea’s ICBM test. Notably, Moscow’s presidential spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, characterized the launch as a:
“…Provocative action that provokes a further increase of tensions.”
The Kremlin displayed a rational tone absent in recent exchanges between Trump and Kim. Paskov added,
“We condemn this launch and hope that all relevant sides remain calm.”
However, Moscow admitted no political solution currently exists.
Beijing also issued statements condemning the ICBM test. Despite old alliances, China verbalized “grave concern” towards the North Korean test. Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, stated hope that:
“All parties would act cautiously to preserve peace and stability.”
Additionally, Geng said China would continue to keep peace within the region.
While Russia and China have their own national interests, both are members of the U.N. Security Council. In lieu of the North Korean launch, the council set an emergency meeting for Wednesday.
During that meeting, South Korea cautioned the council about the seriousness of continued North Korean provocations. Expressing a unifying message of opposition, South Korea warned North Korea to “not take lightly” the U.N. Security Council response. If North Korea should, South Korea characterized such a response as a “great mistake.”
Also, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley challenged allies to do more to enforce sanctions. Haley highlighted coal exports from and petroleum imports into North Korea as especially problematic. She called for a complete ban on all trade and diplomatic relations with North Korea.
Doubting the effectiveness of recent Chinese diplomacy, she said,
“The regime has shown time and time again that it doesn’t want to talk. Kim didn’t even speak with President Xi’s envoy when he was sent to talk to the regime. It has emphatically said it will not eliminate its nuclear production. And North Korea is in clear violation of multiple Security Council resolutions.”
Featured Image Via YouTube Video.