Despite years of sanctions and international pressure, North Korea has continued to build its artillery of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
On July 28, North Korea launched yet another missile, which according to initial reports from the BBC flew higher, longer and further than any other on record, and is potentially capable of reaching Chicago or Denver. It was the second missile test conducted in July.
After a spate of recent tests, American intelligence agencies were forced to reevaluate how long it might take before the country’s missiles are capable of striking the United States, according to The Washington Post. The initial estimate was within four year. The new estimate: potentially within a year.
The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, a nongovernment organization out of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, records all missiles launches in it’s North Korea Missile Test Database.
Here’s a look at how North Korea’s missile program has grown over time:
Reaching new heights
The launch on July 28 made a new record. The apogee of the missile (the highest point of the missile’s trajectory) was 3,724.9 km and it travelled 998 km, according to records in the database.
Before the launch on July 28, the last missile launch on July 4 hit a new high altitude. The apogee reached 2,802 km. The missile travelled nearly 1,000 km and was in the air for nearly 40 minutes. While it landed somewhere in the sea outside of North Korea, if the flight path of the missile were flattened out, it could have potentially reached the U.S., according to the Associated Press.
Number of missiles fired
Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s current ruler, has beefed up missile testing since he took power from his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011. So far this year, the country has launch 14 missiles (four of which were categorized as a ‘failure’), according to the database. After the missile launch on July 4, the United States proposed a draft resolution to impose stronger sanctions on North Korea. The Security Council has yet to vote on the resolution.
Along with increased missile tests, Kim Jong-un has also increased the number of testing facilities.