Remember that North Korean ICBM? The one that we said was going to hit Alaska? Heck, I admit it, I was feeling a bit of heat about it.
However, the South Koreans just noticed something very peculiar regarding North Korea’s first ICBM. Namely, they say, it can’t actually re-enter the atmosphere.
According to the Wall Street Journal, North Koreas ICBM test didn’t demonstrate that the warhead could survive re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.
“North Korea’s recent long-range missile test didn’t show Pyongyang is able to arm the device with a warhead that can survive the intense heat and vibration,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
“The assessment, given to South Korean lawmakers Tuesday, contradicts an assertion by North Korea and suggests the isolated state may still have a significant technical hurdle to overcome in its quest for a missile that can threaten major U.S. cities.”
The launch took place on July 4, a rather ham-fisted way at trying to get our attention.
While ICBMs have been the province of major superpowers since the 1950s, a lot of other me-too nations have wanted to join the club. However, in the intervening half-century, a lot of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff has proved to be the undoing of anyone trying to join the club.
But then, what do you expect in a country where, in the supposedly-decadent capital of Pyongyang, the writer Christoper Hitchens once noted that he discovered his “appetite (was) crucially diminished by the realization that I hadn’t seen a domestic animal, not even the merest cat, in the whole time I was there.”
“In a Pyongyang restaurant, don’t ever ask for a doggie bag,” Hitchens noted, and he put his finger on a sad fact: as much as North Korea wants to act tough, it has nothing. Nada. Apparently, not even a missile that can re-enter our atmosphere “safely.”
North Korea, after all, have staked a lot on the launch of this ICBM — the Hwasong 14.
“The success in the test-fire of intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14 is a manifestation of the invincible might of Juche Korea and tremendous capability of its self-reliant national defense industry that has been rapidly strengthened,” a statement from the Korea Central News Agency read. “It is also a great historical victory in putting an end to the persistent nuclear war threat posed by the U.S. against the DPRK.”
Not so much, if the press is to be believed. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to be worried about when it comes to North Korea’s latest launch.
“It’s really a matter of enough trial and error to make that work,” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers in May, according to CNN. “They understand the physics, so it’s just a matter of design.”
The bottom line is that the North Koreans don’t have a missile entirely capable of hitting the United States, if South Korea is to be believed. The Trump administration has the opportunity to keep it that way. Let’s hope that they do.
Image and Content: Conservative Tribune