North Korea on Sunday launched another missile, its ninth this year, in its latest show of defiance to the international community.
Despite repeated condemnations and warnings of additional sanctions, Kim Jong Un’s regime has been pressing ahead at a relentless pace to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which would be capable of reaching the mainland United States.
Analysts say the regime has several key technologies to master before it can deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to a target, but point out that it inches closes to its goal with every test. An analysts said it appeared to be another launch of the missile fired in February - the first after President Donald Trump took office. That was a Pukguksong-2 (or Polaris-2), a land-based version of North Korea’s submarine-launched missile.
John Schilling, an aerospace engineer and rocket specialist, estimated that the Pukguksong-2 could be launched on five minutes’ notice, compared with 30 to 60 minutes for older missile types. “All of these factors would make it much harder to find and preemptively destroy the Pukguksong-2,” Schilling wrote in a note for 38 North, a website dedicated to North Korea, after the February launch.
The North Korean leader called it a “perfect weapon system,” according to state media reports showing a happy Kim at the launch site, that was able to carry “a large-size heavy nuclear warhead.”
By Anna Fifield (c) 2017, The Washington Post · May 21, 201 -TOKYO