North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test may be nearly as big a deal as the country’s propaganda machine claims.
Although outside experts see several places where North Korea is likely stretching the truth, the missile launched Sunday appears to be the most powerful the country has ever tested. Some analysts believe the missile, if proven in further tests, could reach Alaska and Hawaii if fired on a normal, instead of a lofted, trajectory.
There’s also a political victory for North Korea. The test gives a boost to leader Kim Jong-un as he seeks to show his people that he’s standing up to America and South Korea. And it also lifts scientists in the authoritarian nation who are working to build an arsenal of missiles with nuclear warheads that can reach the US mainland. They’re not there yet, but tests like this are the nuts and bolts a successful weapons programme needs.
Here’s a closer look at what happened in Sunday’s missile launch, which came only a few days after the inauguration of a new South Korean president, and why it’s viewed as a worrying development by North Korea’s neighbours and Washington.
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