On Friday, the Pentagon confirmed that North Korea launched another intercontinental ballistic missile. According to reports, the missile was airborne for about forty-five minutes before landing 230 miles off the Japanese coast.
Following the missile launch, American military leaders — along with South Korea's defense chief — discussed military options:
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In North Korea, Kim Jong Un told state media that the test was evidence he could hit the U.S. mainland. “We have demonstrated our ability to fire our intercontinental ballistic rocket at any time and place and that the entire U.S. territory is within our shooting range,” Kim said.
According to a report from the New York Post if the data is correct about the missile test, Kim is right:
David Wright, a physicist, and co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists said that if reports of the missile’s maximum altitude and flight time are correct, it would have a theoretical range of at least about 6,500 miles.
That means it could have reached Los Angeles, Denver or Chicago, depending on variables such as the size and weight of the warhead that would be carried atop such a missile in an actual attack.
Is war with North Korea possible? Marine General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seems to think it could happen.
At the Aspen Security Forum earlier this week, Dunford said, via Axios:
"Many people have talked about military options with words like 'unimaginable'... I would probably shift that slightly and say it would be horrific... [A]nyone who's been alive since World War II has never seen the loss of life that could occur if there's a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
“[I]t is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What's unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado. That's unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn't happen.”
In response to the missile test from North Korea, President Donald Trump said, in part, “The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”
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