By Debbie Gregory.
One year: that’s the current estimate that American intelligence agencies have given before North Korea has the ability to launch a missile that can reach the continental United States.
Just a few weeks ago, the official estimate stood at about four years. But recent test launches have intelligence experts updating the narrative. Pyongyang has carried out 12 missile tests since February and conducted its first test of an ICBM on July 4 — which it says could reach “anywhere in the world.”
Most recently, on July 28th, North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that appears to have the range to hit major U.S. cities, according to the experts.
The missile launch from Mupyong-ni flew about 45 minutes, going 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) high and for a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
If the missile trajectory had been flattened, it could have reached Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago, depending on how heavy a payload the missile was carrying in its warhead; the heavier the payload, the shorter the range.
In a recent statement, Scott Bray, a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said, “North Korea’s recent test of an intercontinental range ballistic missile — which was not a surprise to the Intelligence Community — is one of the milestones that we have expected would help refine our timeline and judgments on the threats that Kim Jong Un poses to the continental United States.”
Condemning the missile launch, President Trump said the United States would act to ensure its security.
“Threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy and deprive its people,” Trump said in a written statement. “The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”