NORTH KOREA has released photos it says are of the new intercontinental ballistic missile it claims is capable of striking “the whole mainland of the US.”
Dozens of photos of the Hwasong-15 missile released on Thursday were published in state media.
North Korea claims to have achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear state with the missile launch Wednesday.
“This is very big missile … And I don’t mean ‘Big for North Korea.’ Only a few countries can produce missiles of this size, and North Korea just joined the club,” Michael Duitsman, a researcher at the Centre for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, tweeted soon after the photos were published:
Duitsman suggested the new ICBM appears to have a different engine arrangement and improved steering from the smaller Hwasong-14 ICBM that the North tested twice in July.
The Hwasong-15 appears to be the longest-range missile ever tested by North Korea, which said it reached an altitude of 2,780 miles (4473 km) and flew a distance of 590 miles (949 km) in 53 minutes.
It would have had a range of 8100 miles had it flown in a flat trajectory, according to calculations by David Wright, an expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists. That would make it capable of reaching Washington, DC.
North Korean news agency KCNA issued a report stating that the Hwasong-15 carried a “super-large heavy warhead.” The report said that Kim watched the launch and “declared with pride that now we have finally realised the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.”
State television also ran a special broadcast on the launch, which showed Kim personally signing the launch order.