Kim Jong-Un: N. Korea is in the ‘final stages’ of testing intercontinental ballistic missile

Kim says N. Korea in ‘final stages of test launching ICBM’.


North Korea is in the “final stages” of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, leader Kim Jong-Un says, adding the country had significantly bolstered its nuclear deterrent in 2016.


List of North Korean missile tests

There have been a number of North Korean missile tests. North Korea has also fired a number of short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea), apparently as political gestures.

— 1993 North Korean missile test – (May 29/30, 1993) – Nodong

— 2006 North Korean missile test – (July 5, 2006) – Taepodong-2 failed

— 2009 North Korean missile test (July 4, 2009)

— Successful launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 satellite (December 12, 2012)

— 2013 North Korean missile tests (May 18-20, 2013 – part of 2013 Korean crisis)

— 2014 North Korean missile tests (March 2014) including Nodong, success

— North Korea claims to launch a missile from a submarine (May 2015)

— Successful launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite (Feb. 7, 2016)

— Test of engine designed for an intercontinental ballistic missile (April, 2016)

— North Korea claims to launch a missile capable of striking the United States (August 2016)

On February 7, 2016, roughly a month after an alleged hydrogen bomb test, North Korea claimed to have put a satellite into orbit around the Earth. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had warned the North to not launch the rocket, and if it did and the rocket violated Japanese territory, it would be shot down. Nevertheless, North Korea launched the rocket anyway, claiming the satellite was purely intended for peaceful, scientific purposes. Several nations, including the United States, Japan, and South Korea, have criticized the launch, and despite North Korean claims that the rocket was for peaceful purposes, it has been heavily criticized as an attempt to perform an ICBM test under the guise of a peaceful satellite launch. China also criticized the launch, however urged “the relevant parties” to “refrain from taking actions that may further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula”.

While some North Korean pronouncements have been treated with skepticism and ridicule, analysts are treating the unusual pace of North Korean rocket and nuclear testing in early 2016 quite seriously. At an extreme, Admiral Bill Gortney, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told Congress in March 2016, “It’s the prudent decision on my part to assume that [Kim Jong Un] has the capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an ICBM,” suggesting a major shift from a few years earlier.

North Korea appeared to launch a missile test from a submarine on 23 April 2016; while the missile only traveled 30 km, one U.S. analyst noted that “North Korea’s sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious”. North Korea conducted multiple missile tests in 2016.