US officials have responded to last week’s North Korea ICBM test by hyping up the growing “threat” posed by the nation’s missile program, claiming that North Korea now has the capability of hitting “most” of the United States with a missile.
This narrative plays well into the administration’s eagerness to keep escalating threats and sanctions, but it’s not true. As with the previous “successful” ICBM test, this most recent one wasn’t really a success, and once again demonstrated North Korea’s limitations on such missiles.
In reality, experts say the video footage of the ICBM shows that it broke up upon re-entry, and hit the sea in pieces. Lack of re-entry capability, along with lack of advanced guidance technology, were both cited as problems with the previous test as well.
Indeed, some have argued this makes North Korea’s missile an ICBM only in the loosest sense of the word, as it lacks necessary technology to be accurately fired at such a long range. At its core, these missiles are just medium range missiles with an extra stage of fuel that makes them seem like they’d go farther.