The North Korean missile program has been the center of global attention over the last two years. Lately, the hermit kingdom has accelerated the development of missile technology. Since February this year, the country has conducted 16 ICBM tests, firing 23 missiles in the process.
North Korea conducted another missile test on November 29th. It is this recent test that has caught the eyes of the world. Analysts who know a thing or two about the North Korean missile program believe that Tuesday’s test sent two strong messages. First, North Korea has demonstrated that the entire US including the White House are within range. And the second message is that North Korea is not interested in peace talks with the US.
The missile that was fired on Tuesday was better than those previously tested. It flew for longer and went higher. Experts believe that early indications show that the missile’s range is long enough to strike any part of the United States. Although the rogue communist regime has tested Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) before, scientists didn’t believe that the country had the capacity to strike the continental United States. But the recent test was different and it’s the latest indication that North Korea has made significant progress with its missile program.
The US has been pursuing a nonviolent approach to the crisis in the Korean Peninsula. The head of the State Department in North Korea, Joseph Yun, suggested in October that Washington had expressed interest in opening talks with Pyongyang. Yun added that in return North Korea was asked to pause its missile tests for at least 60 days. The Tuesday test came after a pause of nearly 74 days.
Analysts believe that North Korea could simply be flexing its muscle in a bid to force the US and its allies to the table. North Korea has always insisted that it is ready to pursue diplomacy in dealing with the US. However, the country has made it clear that it intends to send a clear message to the world that indeed it has reliable defense and offensive capabilities.
North Korea has also insisted that its missile program is simply a defensive mechanism. The country feels that it can deter a possible invasion if it develops reliable missile capabilities. The recent test is seen by many analysts as the perfect demonstration of this capability.
But analysts are still doubtful that North Korea has the ability to mount a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile. However, the pace in which the country is developing its missile program is alarming. President Trump responded to the test saying that it was a situation that the US will handle. In the recent months, the US president has talked tough about North Korea. However, no visible action has been taken to halt its missile program. The US military is scheduled to begin a large-scale joint military drill with South Korea this month that is likely to exacerbate tensions in the Peninsula.