North Korea claims its missiles can hit US mainland

North Korea claims its missiles can hit US mainland
© Getty

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday said his country's second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) showed it could hit the U.S. mainland.

Kim expressed "great satisfaction" after the Hwasong-14 missile traveled 620 miles and reached a top height of 2,314 miles before landing in water off Japan's coast, Korean Central News Agency said, according The Associated Press.

The state news agency said the test was intended to confirm technical aspects of the missile, such as its range, and it could be used to deliver a "large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead."

Kim was quoted by the state news agency saying that the test put the "entire" U.S. mainland now in range for a missile and underscored the country's ability to fire at "random regions and locations at random times," according to the AP.

ADVERTISEMENT

The North American Aerospace Defense Command had determined that the missile did not pose a threat to North America, but some analysts said the test appeared to show that swaths of the U.S. were in range of North Korean weapons.

The nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists said that if the missile fired Friday reached the height and flight time that is estimated, it could have a theoretical range of at least 6,500 miles, meaning that depending on the size and weight of the warhead it could reach cities such as Los Angeles, Denver or Chicago.

The U.S. and South Korea fired missiles into waters off the South Korean coast on Friday in a show of force to North Korea following its missile test. The U.S. and South Korea conducted a similar test on July 5, in response to North Korea's launch of an ICBM on July 4.

President Trump on Friday evening condemned North Korea's latest launch, saying such tests "further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people."

"The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region," he said in a statement.