WASHINGTON - If North Korea’s latest missile launch is designed to garner attention, it worked. The North’s latest test, which traveled about 600 miles, is enough to put many on notice, particularly on the East Coast.
“The North Koreans have demonstrated the ability to hit any range in the U.S.,” said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest. “Washington would be the number one target.”
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Kazianis joined FOX 5’s Jim Lokay on Tuesday’s “The Final 5,” hours after North Korea state media confirmed the launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which it claims “is capable of striking the whole mainland of the United States.”
However, the success of the launch will not be fully realized for some time. The North last tested an intercontinental ballistic missile in September and there are questions about the ability of the latest missile to carry a warhead that could withstand re-entry into the atmosphere.
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But if Kim Jong-un wants the world to watch his rogue nation’s nuclear might, Kazianis has an idea when the ideal date may be: February 5, 2018. That coincides with the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, set to take place less than 100 miles away in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Kazianis calls that the ultimate statement.
“If I’m Kim Jong-un, with hundreds of millions watching the Olympic games, I’m going to save my biggest, baddest weapon, detonate it underground, and prove to the world once and for all that I’m a bonafide nuclear power.”