That North Korea is a greater threat than the U.S. ever imagined is now becoming clear. A recent test conducted by Pyongyang has led to startling conclusions, including the likelihood of one North Korea’s ballistic missiles reaching New York and Washington, DC.
Last April 9, North Korea had conducted a test involving a large liquid fuel engine. A new report implies that Pyongyang’s weapon of mass destruction (WMD) program is not a hoax after all.
The report was produced by 38 North, a program produced by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. The program looks closely at Pyongyang, keeping updated with its social, economic and military developments.
According to 38 North, the test North Korea had undertaken a few days ago represents a “disturbing development” for several reasons. This is largely due to three conclusions they can draw from it.
First, North Korea had used propulsion units that belonged to an old Soviet submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). These are known as the E-27 or the SS-N-6 “Serb.” Pyongyang was reportedly never confirmed to have this kind of technology in its possession until now, although Russian engineers have been spotted making their way to North Korea with what appeared to be parade models of the old Soviet missile.
Moreover, the engine allows them to increase the range of their missiles than when they used their usual mix of kerosene and nitric acid.
Because of this development, a modified version of North Korea’s road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the KN-08 or the KN-14 modification, will be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to targets at a striking distance of 10,000 to 13,000 km. This range is greater than what was previously perceived.
More alarmingly, it means that North Korea can target states in the U.S. East Coast, including Washington DC and New York.
Thirdly, if North Korea continues with its current ground test program, and if these tests become successful, Pyongyang is expected to start conducting flight tests in a year. Meanwhile, it is believed that North Korea may be able to deploy the said delivery system with limited operational capability by 2020.
According to a report from Yonhap News Agency, the test North Korea had done in April 9 was successful, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un remarking that the test “provided a firm guarantee for mounting another form of nuclear attack upon the U.S. imperialists.”
Also read: North Korea ‘Rehearses’ Nuking Washington DC