North Korea’s Missile Test Raises Concerns of U.S. Mainland Attack, Local Residents React
RNRF Political Reporter, Zack Duvall
NATIONAL – The most recent ICBM style missile test by North Korea has put U.S. officials and military leaders on high alert, after analysis confirms that the rogue nation can now target huge swaths of the American heartland with their Hwasong-14 missiles.
The test conducted at midnight on Friday was attended by Kim Jung Un himself and the dictator openly threatened to one day use the missile to strike the U.S. mainland
Friday’s launch is one of the more significant tests according to U.S. intelligence officials because it not only shows the rapid progression in North Korea’s missile program but also the defiance of the regime, despite some of the toughest rhetoric and diplomatic action from the U.S thus far.
Although the White House and some on Capitol Hill have been very vocal of the need for tougher sanctions and an end to the era of “strategic patience,” Pentagon Spokesperson, Capt. Jeff Davis, would not offer any specific details pertaining to the official assessment of the Friday launch. “The specifics of our assessment are classified for reasons that I hope you understand,” Davis said during a news briefing at the Pentagon on Tuesday.
Officials would only confirm that the missile did in fact meet the minimum requirements to be classified as an ‘ICBM’ (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), meaning that the North now has the ability to strike targets more than 3,420 miles away.
The missile launched last Friday landed in the Sea of Japan, well within Japanese waters, and was able to be filmed by a Japanese observation crew. The footage is continuing to be reviewed by experts and officials but so far many are unimpressed with the capability of the North Korean missile.
According to both Japanese and U.S. military experts, the missile successfully reached its peak altitude, but the re-entry vehicle, the section of missile that delivers a warhead, did not survive the intense heat and pressure of re-entering the atmosphere.
U.S. missile expert, Michael Elleman, said in interview with 38 North that Friday’s test was an overall failure for the regime. Elleman stated, “the missile appeared to ‘disintegrate’ on re-entry…” Ellman further stated, “In short, a reasonable conclusion based on the video evidence is that the Hwasong-14’s re-entry vehicle did not survive during its second test. If this assessment accurately reflects reality, North Korea’s engineers have yet to master re-entry technologies and have an ICBM capable of striking the American mainland.”
Other experts like South Korean defense analyst Kim Dong-Yub, said the failure by the North wasn’t the re-entry, but detonation, and that success for the rogue nation could come with any of the next upcoming launches. Dong-Yub says, “Considering the cost and efforts they put into tests, North Korea likely would have tried to detonate the warhead properly, they apparently failed this time, but could focus on this aspect in future tests.”
The Hwasong-14 missile is the result of decades of research by the North, and numerous test launches that have openly defied international law and sanctions by the United Nations. A similar missile variant and design is also used by Iran.
With the tensions on the peninsula at levels not seen since the Korean War, local residents believe more aggressive action is needed in response to the North Korean threat – others believe additional sanctions would eventually bring the rogue regime to heel.
“At some point the people will get sick of the restrictions. They can’t live like that forever,” said Homosassa resident Carol Linsay, who currently has a nephew serving in the Navy. “A lot of us have someone who is serving and it’s our families who stand to lose someone we love if cooler heads don’t prevail,” said Linsay.
Kent Hampton a retired Army Calvary Scout told RNRF, “The men and women serving live for standing up to danger such as North Korea.” Hampton further stated, “Many in the military today feel that regime change is long overdue… I’ve watched as president after president has tried to change things over there. The leadership is too corrupt… I know a lot of guys in the military now who have told me that they can’t believe that we (the U.S.) are just standing by and allowing this guy to threaten the country and its citizens. The danger is real and those missiles are getting closer.”
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Editors Note: RNRF Political Reporter, Zack Duvall will cover national, state, and local politics. In many cases Duvall’s reports will include commentary from local residents. Please welcome Zack Duvall to the RNRF team.