North Korea can now fire missiles at targets across the United States, experts say

North Korea has the capability to “hit everything from LA to DC,” a leading missile and non-proliferation expert has claimed, and the US now must now “accept its vulnerability”. 

Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, said the US had to adapt to a “new reality” and focus on reducing tensions with North Korea, also known as the DPRK, rather than using coercion against it. 

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, was fired from Mupyong-ni, in the north of the DPRK on Friday evening, and landed within 200 nautical miles of the Japanese coast. 

Weapons experts said that while the missile had a range of just around 1,000km, its apogee – the highest point it reached during flight – was up to 3,700km. It was in flight for 47 minutes. 

The missile was fired more vertically than laterally, meaning its range was substantially reduced. 

North Korea’s latest test “demonstrated it can hit targets throughout the United States,” Mr Lewis told The Independent. “If you straighten out the apogee, that can basically hit everything from LA almost to [Washington] DC.”

David Wright, co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program, published estimates of the missile’s range soon after its launch. 

He said that if the figures regarding the missile’s range and apogee were correct, it “would have a range of 10,400 km (6,500 miles), not taking into account the rotation of the Earth.”

This would easily put it within range of Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago and just within range of Boston and New York, Dr Wright said. He also conceded Washington DC “may be just out of range”.

While previous US concerns over the range of North Korean missiles were mainly preoccupied with the prospect of places such as Alaska and Hawaii being targeted, the latest test means the US now has to “accept vulnerability,” Mr Lewis…

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