North Korea now has the capability to hit Los Angeles and other major American cities with ballistic missiles, experts claim.
Kim Jong Un launched a missile that came ‘threateningly’ close to Japan on Friday night, which has prompted the country’s prime minster to admonish North Korea.
Experts now say its improved weapons have potential to reach the West Coast – and possibly as far as Chicago.
Pyongyang’s continuing development of nuclear weapons is a growing cause of concern for leaders in the United States, South Korea and Japan.
In a show of force against the dictator and his military, the United States and South Korea held a joint missile exercise in response.
North Korea’s missiles have the capability to reach Los Angeles and Chicago experts claimed on Friday, following the country’s second ICBM launch of the month. Pictured: North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM launch on July 4
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pictured) called North Korea’s missile launch a ‘serious and real threat’ to the country’s security
North Korea’s late-night launch added to exasperation in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo over Pyongyang’s capability to make and deliver nuclear weapons and ICBMs.
David Wright, a physicist and co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said if reports of the missile’s maximum altitude and flight time are correct, it would have a theoretical range of at least 6,500 miles.
That means it could have reached Los Angeles and other major West Coast cities.
The nightmare scenario for the Pentagon is a missile capability that puts the East Coast – Washington DC and New York City – within range.
Some experts fear that North Korea may be even able to do that, reported Vox.
The missile North Korea launched on Friday flew longer and higher than its first ICBM which launched earlier this month, officials said.
The missile was launched on very high trajectory, which limited the distance it traveled, and landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido.
North Korean President Kim Jong Un’s military had already raised alarms at the first launch on July 4.
‘As a result of their launches of ICBM-level missiles, this clearly shows the threat to our nation’s safety is severe and real,’ said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who planned to call a meeting of his National Security Council.
North Korea’s missile launch on Friday landed in Japan’s territorial waters, the country’s government has confirmed.
Pictured: What officials believe to have been the route taken by the missile after it was launched from North Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the test-fire of intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location earlier this month
The missile launch came just after Japan had announced it would increase its sanctions on North Korea.
The Japanese government has established an emergency participation team with members of relevant ministries and agencies.
The intercontinental ballistic missile landed in the Sea of Japan in the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone.
Following a meeting of South Korea’s National Security Council, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he wanted the U.N. Security Council to discuss new and stronger sanctions against the North, the presidential Blue House said.
The top U.S. military official, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, and Admiral Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, spoke by phone with the top South Korean military official, General Lee Sun-jin, to discuss military response options to the launch.
Later the United States and South Korea took part in a ballistic missile exercise.