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Kim Jong Un Sends US ICBM Independence Day Gift, Warns Of More To Come

KCNA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile with the potential to hit the U.S. Tuesday.

As Americans prepared to celebrate Independence Day, North Korea launched a weapon designed to rattle the U.S. and unravel its nuclear deterrence strategy. The Hwasong-14 is a two-stage ICBM which the North claims can carry a nuclear warhead. Some expert observers estimate that the new North Korean ICBM has a range of around 4,000 miles, putting Alaska within striking distance.

The North claimed that the test successfully demonstrated stage separation, atmospheric re-entry, and late-stage warhead control for a long-range ballistic missile.

The missile was reportedly intended as a gift to the Americans, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, “with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the U.S. would be displeased … as it was given a ‘package of gifts’ on its ‘Independence Day’,” North Korean state media reported.

He ordered his troops to “frequently send big and small ‘gift packages’ to the Yankees,” the report added.

North Korea has tested, at an astonishing rate, multiple new missile systems this year, including short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles, as well as surface-to-air and coastal defense missiles. North Korea has also experimented with new rocket engines, one of which appears to have been used to develop an ICBM.

The U.S. and its allies did not come to the party empty handed though. The U.S. and South Korea launched multiple missiles into the sea in a show of force, demonstrating allied precision missile strike capabilities, specifically the ability to “engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions.”

The U.S. and other nations have condemned North Korea’s ICBM test, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for global action in response to North Korea’s latest provocation. The Department of State declared the test an “escalation of the threat.”

The Trump administration has been implementing a strategy of “maximum pressure and engagement,” which involves economic sanctions, military deterrence, and diplomatic pressure in an effort to force Pyongyang to the negotiating table. A cornerstone of the strategy has been China, which President Donald Trump hoped would step up to resolve the North Korean issue for the international community.

That strategy, however, has failed to produce results, and North Korea’s weapons capabilities are improving rapidly.

The administration has repeatedly stated that all options are on the table while emphasizing that the Obama-era policy of “strategic patience” is over, but it is unclear how the U.S. will address the new threat posed by North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM.

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