On July 28th, Kim Jong-un, the Korean dictator authorized a second missile test within a month. The missile has been classified as an ICBM (InterContinental Ballistic Missile) by the Pentagon and the US allies, Japan and South Korea. The Russians who also monitored the flight path of the missile have differed, and as per data presented by them, the missile was only an Intermediate range ballistic missile( IRBM). The data presented by the Pentagon and the Russians is slightly different.

The weapon which was fired from a firing range in Tongchang-dong, North Korea, was tracked by the Russian missile defense alarm system.

The parametric data released by the Russian defense ministry has brought out that the missile traveled 732 kilometers and can thus be classified as an IRBM. In contrast, the USA and North Korea claim the missile flew 1000 km and reached a height of 3700kms CNN International reports this news.

North Korea and ICBM technology

Classifications apart the fact is the North is years away from perfecting an ICBM capability. It could take them more than a decade to perfect an ICBM to hit the American mainland. However, the North can even now with the limited range of its missiles devastate South Korea and maybe even hit Japan. This is the real deterrent and has stopped the United States from attacking the North.

As General Mattis has said, a war on the Korean peninsula will bring untold suffering to the people of the peninsula.

China supports the North

The North Koreans have made it clear that a nuclear deterrent is essential for its safety. The US is unable to act for two reasons, firstly because of the danger to South Korea in a retaliatory strike by the North and secondly because of the China factor.

Many observers have long opined that the North is a proxy for China with who it has 90% of its trade.

Despite the overtures by Trump at his meeting with President Xi at his resort in Florida, the Chinese have not bitten the bullet and have put very little pressure on North Korea to halt the missile tests. On the contrary, the Chinese proposal of a freeze on the nuclear and missile program of the North in return for the USA and the South suspending their military exercises is not acceptable to Washington.

Last word

The North is in the habit of boasting, and at present, its ICBM technology is a long way off to be able to execute an attack on any nation across the vast oceans. Probably it suits the Americans to play ball and classify the missile launched by the North as an ICBM. The facts are otherwise.