The mainland USA is now in range of a North Korean ICBM:
North Korea fired a missile on Friday that experts said was capable of striking Los Angeles and other U.S. cities and the United States and South Korea responded by staging a joint missile exercise, the South Korean news agency Yonhap said.
The Trump administration, which has branded North Korea the “most urgent and dangerous threat to peace,” condemned the launch as reckless.
“By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. “The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”
The unusual late-night launch added to exasperation in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo over Pyongyang’s continuing development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Friday’s test prompted U.S. and South Korean military officials to discuss military response options…. The launch from North Korea’s northern Jangang province took place at 11:41 p.m. (1441 GMT), an official at South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile flew for about 45 minutes before apparently landing in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Japanese broadcaster NHK, citing a military official, said the missile reached an altitude of more than 3,000 km (1,860 miles). The South Korean military said the missile was believed to be an ICBM-class, flying more than 1,000 km (620 miles) and reaching an altitude of 3,700 km (2,300 miles). In Washington, the Pentagon also said it had assessed that the missile was an ICBM.
U.S. officials said the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon spy agency, has determined that North Korea will be able to field a reliable nuclear-capable ICBM by next year, earlier than previously thought.
Jeffrey Lewis of the California-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies said the launch showed Los Angeles was within range of a North Korean missile, with Chicago, New York and Washington, just out of reach.
“They may not have demonstrated the full range. The computer models suggest it can hit all of those targets,” he said.
The U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said its calculations showed the missile could have been capable of going as far into the United States as Denver and Chicago.
The potential cost of dealing with a nuclear North Korea is only going to go up from here. The question is, are Russia and China on board with a US attempt to remove the North Korean threat or is a nuclear North Korea simply something that the world will have to accept, as it has accepted a nuclear Pakistan, Israel, and Iran.
There are no good options here, only varying degress of slightly less bad. I don’t know if Trump will actually dare to grasp the nettle, but I think he’s much more likely to do so than Bush, Clinton, or Obama were.