North Korea says new ICBM can hit all US mainland

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TOKYO: North Korea claimed the entire United States mainland was within reach after “successfully” testing a new kind of intercontinental ballistic missile, which it called the Hwasong-15, and said could carry a “super large heavy warhead.”

While Pyongyang is prone to exaggeration, its boast of having all of the United States in range is in line with experts’ calculations that the missile launched Wednesday, which flew 10 times higher than the International Space Station, could theoretically reach Washington, D.C.

“With this system, we can load the heaviest warhead and strike anywhere in the mainland United States,” North Korea’s most famous newsreader, Ri Chun Hee, said in a special live broadcast on state television. “This missile is far more technologically advanced than July’s Hwasong-14. This signifies that our rocket development process has been completed.”

Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, had personally authorized the launch, Ri said, a photo of Kim at his desk and the handwritten order appearing on the screen.

Wednesday’s launch, the first in more than two months, is a clear sign that the North Korean leader is pressing ahead with his nation’s stated goal of being able to strike the United States’ mainland and is not caving in to the Trump administration’s strategy of applying “maximum pressure.”