This New Map Shows The Stunning Range Of North Korea’s Missiles

Jacob Bojesson | Foreign Correspondent

North Korea successfully launched its sixth long-range rocket into orbit Sunday, showing a not insignificant leap in progress of its long-range ballistic missile program.

Both South Korean and U.S. officials said the launch appeared to be successful. The range of the Taepodong-3 has increased by 30 percent, compared to previous estimates, experts say.

The new range means that the entire American continent is now well within striking distance of the missile.

DS-north-korea-13000-km

The advancement of North Korea’s long-range ballistic missile program gets better with each launch, as it learns what’s working and what’s not. After two failed launches of the Taepodong-2 in 2006 and 2009, the Taepodong-3 has had better results since putting a satellite into orbit in 2012.

The Taepodong-3 adds significant distance compared to estimates of North Korea’s other ballistic missiles.

MS-2016-north-korea-missiles-map

Pyongyang claims the tests are part of its peaceful space program, but experts argue that the technology is good enough to easily drop a nuclear weapon on American soil.

“We assess that they have the capability to reach the homeland with a nuclear weapon from a rocket,” Admiral Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said last October. “We’re ready for him [North Korean leader Kim Jong-un], and we’re ready 24 hours a day if he should be dumb enough to shoot something at us.”

North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb Jan. 5. U.S. analysis of the test indicated that the claim was false, and that the test was not a hydrogen bomb.

Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center said the test was still alarming.

“This is a big deal, even if it’s not a two-stage device,” Sokolski told The Wall Street Journal. “One of these smaller devices…will do quite fine.”

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