Analysts: North Korea not bluffing on ICBM launch

Written by Al Jazeera

North Korea worked through 2016 on developing components for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), making the isolated nation’s claim that it is close to a test-launch plausible, weapons experts say.

Once fully developed, a North Korean ICBM could threaten the continental United States about 9,000km away.

Pyongyang’s state media regularly threatens the US with a nuclear strike, but before 2016, North Korea had been assumed to be a long way from being capable of doing so.

“The bottom line is, Pyongyang is much further along in their missile development than most people realise,” said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the US-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California.

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