Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

North Korea's new ICBM likely broke up upon re-entry, United States official says

North Korea's new ICBM likely broke up upon re-entry, United States official says

Earlier on Thursday, Pentagon Chief James Mattis said that the US intends to "tirelessly" seek to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue with the help of the United Nations and will make diplomatic efforts to persuade Pyongyang to abandon the programs for the development of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery.

The brigade is charged with entering Pyongyang to target North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other senior officials in the country's ruling party if signs of a nuclear attack are detected.

After North Korea released video footage and photographs of Hwasong-15, analysts have said they appeared to show the North was indeed capable of delivering a nuclear weapon anywhere in the United States and could only be two or three tests away from being combat ready. "I urge him to pursue a diplomatic strategy that places serious pressure on the Kim (Jong-Un) regime to change its behaviour", he said.

South Korea said it expected Pyongyang to pause its provocative missile testing program following Wednesday's successful flight of its new Hwasong-15 missile, which can reach the US mainland.

After a 75-day pause, North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Wednesday, which flew 13,000 km, and Pyongyang proclaimed it was capable of putting the whole of the USA mainland within its range. The missile technology tested remains unproven and that "the task we face is to completely prevent North Korea from futher advancing its nuclear technologies", Moon was quoted by a spokesperson in Yonhap.

North Korea's new ICBM likely broke up upon re-entry, United States official says
North Korea's new ICBM likely broke up upon re-entry, United States official says

According to an analysis by South Korea's military, Yeo told lawmakers at a parliamentary session that the first-stage engine of the Hwasong-15 missile is a clustering of two engines from Hwasong-14 missiles, which are also ICBMs that were test-launched in July this year.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said it believes North Korea is unlikely to engage in more missile and rocket tests soon due to a number of reasons, including the onset of winter.

But, what could be a positive sign is the US president's commitment to send a high-level delegation to PyeongChang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics set to kick off in just 70 days.

Moon told Trump evidence is lacking North Korea has achieved atmospheric re-entry or warhead miniaturization, a spokesman said. North Korea generally tests fewer weapons in the fourth quarter because the temperature drops significantly, putting pressure on fuel supplies, and also troops are required to help with harvests.

The hour-long telephone conversation held late Thursday (Seoul time) came one day after the North launched an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile in its first provocation in two and a half months. Addressing an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting after this week's missile launch, the United States warned North Korea's leadership it would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out.

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