On Sunday the 14th of May, North Korea tested a new type of ballistic rocket, claimed by the regime to be capable of carrying nuclear a large nuclear warhead.
According to the state news agency KNCA, the missile, Hwasong-12, was launched at 4:58 AM and reached an altitude of 2,111.5 km and flew 787 km away to open waters. Kim Jong-Un, who supervised the operation, considered it a successful test and “instructed scientists and technicians to step up preparations for future tests.”
Considering the altitude reached and the flight time -30 minutes-, the biggest concern in the international community is the likelihood that North Korea has developed weapons with the technology to leave and re-enter the atmosphere, an important previous step to the development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM).
It is the longest-range missile North Korea has ever tested. Although the range was only 787 km, the trajectory was highly lofted, and according to aerospace experts, the same missile could reach a maximum range of 4,500 km launched on a standard trajectory. With the maximum range of the Hwasong-12, the North Korean regime could reach the military bases on the United States island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, 3,400 km from Pyongyang. Reaching the West coast of the US mainland would require a missile range of more than 8,000 km, while the US state of Hawaii is located around 7,000 km from the Asian country. However, the Kim Jong-Un regime is developing missile technology rapidly and the main cities in Japan and South Korea are within the rocket range a long time ago.
The United Nations condemned the test and urged Pyongyang to return to the path of denuclearization. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was “in violation of Security Council resolutions and a threat to peace and security in the region.” In a press statement, the UN Security Council President for the month of May, Elbio Rosselli, expressed the concern over the “highly destabilizing, flagrant and provocative defiant” behaviour of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The members of the Security Council vowed to fully implement all measures imposed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by the Security Council and urge all other Members States to do so in an expeditious and serious manner”, added the press statement.
Further to the statement, the Council “stressed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s illegal ballistic missile activities are contributing to its development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond, and emphasized the vital importance of “immediately showing sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action.”
After the test, the United States, Japan, and South Korea called for an emergency meeting of the Council this week, where more sanctions to the Kim Jong-Un regime can be expected.