How four recent launches signaled new leaps in North Korea’s missile capabilities

The Washington Post reports: It wasn’t a big surprise, but it was a big deal — so much so that North Korea issued commemorative stamps. Two successful missile launches in July almost certainly proved that the country had produced an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States. A Nov. 29 test that flew even higher and longer indicated that the entire U.S. mainland most likely was within range.

According to U.S. intelligence analysts, the country also has nuclear warheads small enough to fit on its missiles. On Sept. 2, the country tested its most powerful nuclear device yet, a blast seven times the size of the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima.

Nonproliferation experts had long assumed that the secretive country’s nuclear capability was further along than many people wanted to believe, but seeing the proof was still jarring.

North Korea has launched 20 missile tests in 2017, and 15 were successful, according to a database maintained by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. The tests represented giant leaps forward in technology. [Continue reading…]

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