CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Every time North Korea sends up a missile test this question comes up, "Could one of these missiles actually reach the US?" The answer is rapidly becoming yes.
The test on Friday was its most successful to date in that it remained in the air for some 40 minutes and flying 1,000 kilometers before coming down. Because it flew longer and further then any previous test you can put it into the category of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
With the test on Friday, it appears a missile fired from North Korea could reach Alaska, but could it reach the mainland? North Korea has been saying for a while that they can, by making propaganda videos showing Washington DC in flames.
"They've been saying it for a long time. I think the difference is we're coming to believe them," said arms control analyst Jeffrey Lewis to CBS News.
Experts are saying it's looking more and more likely that an ICBM could reach locations like LA, Chicago and Washington. So in theory, yes, Cleveland could also be reached by an ICBM.
When you get into the discussion of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM, it becomes a whole other beast. First they would have to have the capability of making a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a small ICBM. The weight of the warhead would greatly change the equation as far as distance and reach. Analysts have estimated 2018 as the date for them to figure that equation out.
Another question then becomes, "Have the North Koreans figured out re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere?" Without the proper technology the missile would burn-up on re-entry.
They claim the missile test on July 4 proves they can accomplish re-entry.
So let's get back to the main question. Yes, it does appear North Korea could reach the US mainland with some sort of smaller ICBM. Could they make it a nuclear ICBM? It doesn't appear so yet. And that "yet" is what has President Donald Trump concerned as he said in a release on Friday. "By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people. The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region."