North Korea Has Openly Tested Its First ICBM Since 2017 – Their Biggest One Ever

North Korea has successfully test-launched a new “super-large” nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, called the Hwasongpho-17. This is North Korea’s largest ICBM to date and this test saw the missile reach an especially high altitude, with the country’s authorities saying it reached a height of 6,248.5 kilometers, or nearly 3,882 miles, before falling into a part of the East Sea within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ.

The launch took place on Thursday, March 24, 2022, on the Korean Peninsula. A statement put out through North Korea’s state media apparatus included the officially recorded height the missile reached and said that it had traveled a lateral distance of 1,090 kilometers, or just over 677 miles, over the course of a flight lasting 4,052 seconds or 67.5 minutes.

The North Korean statement said that it had succeeded in “correctly hitting the target” in the East Sea. “The intercontinental ballistic missile was test-fired vertically in consideration of the security of the neighboring states,” it added.

Japanese authorities said the missile landed inside the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the East Sea. At least one Japanese F-15J Eagle fighter jet was destroyed in response to the launch, along with a P-3C Orion maritime patrol plane.

“This is such an outrageous, unforgivable act,” Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, added that the launch was “reckless” and “unacceptable.” South Korean, American, and United Nations officials also denounced the test, which violates several U.N. Security Council Resolutions.

Ankit Panda, a Stanton Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an expert on North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program, suggested that the first stage of the missile could put out 160 tons of force-based on the size and arrangement of the rocket motors.

“Steadfast are the strategic choice and determination of our Party and government to strengthen the powerful nuclear war deterrent both in quality and quantity and in a sustainable way for the security of the country and to cope with all crises in the future,” the official North Korean statement says. “Possessing the incomparably overwhelming military offensive ability is the most reliable war deterrent, state defense capability.”

This all comes amid a deadlock in negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang over the future of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals, among other issues. These talks are the continuation of diplomatic efforts that began under President Donald Trump’s administration, but that had largely stalled out already before he left office.

This test of the Hwasongpho-17 would seem unlikely to jumpstart those talks and could easily provoke new sanctions, among other responses.

At the same time, the North Koreans have shown yet another new and significant capability they are creating to hold their enemies around the world at risk.

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