What We Know About North Korea’s Missile Launch


Margaret Michalak, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, November 28, North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un gave the okay for his military to fire an ‘intercontinental ballistic missile’ towards Japan. This has been the first missile launched from North Korea in four months, and many believe it to be in spite toward President Donald Trump after he warned North Korea to halt its weapons program. Trump responded by reassuring our country, saying that: “We will take care of it…it is a situation that we will handle.”

Kim Jong-un’s missile was sent out of a town called Pyongsong, northeast from the capital, Pyongyang, at 3:17 a.m. and landed off the shore just north of Japan’s largest Island, Honshu. The missile traveled for 53 minutes and landed almost 600 miles from the launch site. Similar to the missiles launched from North Korea in the past, this missile was sent high into the air and reached an altitude of 2,800 km at its maximum height.

However, unlike those launched this past July, this missile travelled a much greater distance. David Wright, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the missile performed better than the two fired in July, with a potential range of more than 8,000 miles: enough to reach Washington or any other part of the continental United States. Wright warned, “This is building on what they’ve done before. It’s muscle-flexing to show the U.S. that they’re going to continue to make progress.” However, it is important to note that while the distance travelled by the missile was impressive, it cannot be considered a working intercontinental ballistic missile because in an effort to increase the vehicle’s range, the North Koreans might have fitted it with a mock payload that weighed little to nothing. So, there’s little chance that any of their missiles could become a thermonuclear warhead, as threatened in the past. It appears that North Korea continues to search for ways to get around the United States’ ability to carry out a precautionary nuclear strike, and this launch—occurring in the middle of the night with no real warning—proved that Pyongyang could be making strides in that department.

What’s important to remember is that, so far, no one has been hurt or in direct danger of the missiles launched from North Korea. As of right now, President Trump has said that he will respond swiftly and effectively to these events but has given no further information to the public. Hopefully, more information about the launch and America’s response plans will be released in the near future.