While the nasty rhetoric and disturbing threats from North Korea have been significantly lessened since President Trump offered Kim Jong Un a diplomatic olive branch, the controversial leader seems to be changing his mind.
On Wednesday, North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test that was launched from one of its submarines.
Making a Statement
While Kim Jong Un and Trump have had a relatively positive relationship thus far during the president’s first term, the North Korean leader has demonstrated a more temperamental disposition in recent days.
The United States and South Korea have refused to stop holding joint military maneuvers, something Kim has deemed a threat to his country’s national security.
It should be noted that in a show of good faith, the maneuvers are much smaller in scale they used to be and are mostly comprised of computer simulations at this point. Clearly, South Korea and the United States must remain prepared for a possible attack, and that is something Kim has no choice but to accept.
However, he continues to use the joint maneuvers as a reason to ramp up his own missile testing, something which only adds to tensions in the region.
After this most recent test was conducted, the North Korean state news agency stated, “The Pukguksong [missile] is not just a demonstration of our conventional weapon but a powerful statement to [North] Korean people and a grave statement to violent reactionaries bent on turning the flow of history around.”
“The Pukguksong is now looking over hostile forces currently hunkering down in dark caves. It is a time bomb hanging behind their back and the most fearful dagger that will destruct all enemies.”
The distance the missile traveled is a bit deceiving, since it was launched in test mode. This means that it was launched in “vertical mode,” which significantly cuts down on the span the missile is able to cover.
While the missile only traveled about 565 miles during the test, had it been launched on a normal trajectory, it would have traveled almost 1,200 miles. While that is still not far enough to reach U.S. soil, the calculus changes if North Korea opted not to launch from land.
Given that this new missile can also be launched via submarine, it has the potential to get much closer to U.S. soil and should be considered a serious threat, considering that submarine launches are far harder to detect than land-based launches.
At this time, the United States has yet to confirm whether or not this missile can be armed with a nuclear warhead.