north korea nuclear missile

At the end of July, North Korea conducted an ICBM test launch that the media widely panned as a failure. However, according to a report from The Diplomat, the CIA has assessed that North Korea’s intercontinental-range ballistic missile does have the capability to reach the United States with a nuclear payload:

U.S. government sources with knowledge of the confidential CIA assessment released in early August note that the reentry vehicle of the Hwasong-14 ICBM launched out of Mupyong-ni on July 28 did not survive to splashdown in the Sea of Japan. The reentry vehicle likely disintegrated; the assessment cites the high lofted trajectory of the July 28 launch as the primary reason for the reentry vehicle’s failure.

The CIA assessment notes that based on the two observed flight tests of the Hwasong-14 to date, North Korea’s reentry vehicle technology is likely sufficiently advanced to pose no performance problem should the missile be fired at a minimum energy trajectory.

The CIA assessment comes on the heels of another report that North Korea is capable of arming ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. It remains undetermined whether Kim Jong-un’s regime could accurately guide a missile to a target – but given the population density of the U.S. west coast, any detonation there would be devastating.

North Korea has already threatened to launch a nuclear missile strike on the U.S. territory of Guam, which lies about 2,100 miles to the southeast of North Korea.

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