TEHRAN (defapress)- The United States Forces Korea (USFK) admitted that North Korea's Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) can reach anywhere in the continental US, South Korea’s state-run Yonhap News Agency reported.
News ID: 78044
Publish Date: 11July 2019 - 22:02
The Hwasong-15 has an estimated range of 12,874 kilometers (8,000 miles), according to the first official assessment of the long-range missile, which appeared in the “2019 Strategic Digest”, an annual publication by the USFK along with the United Nations Command and the Combined Forces Command.
North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-15 ICBM in late November 2017. North Korea has two other types of ICBMs – the Hwasong-13 and the Hwasong-14, according to the digest. Pyongyang test-fired the Hwasong-14 in early July 2017.
"While (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un ordered the dismantlement of a missile test site as well as the highly publicized destruction of the nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri, much work remains to move toward the eventual goal of final, fully verified denuclearization," the USFK noted in the assessment.
US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un have met three times since last year to discuss the possibility of denuclearizing Pyongyang in exchange for removing all US sanctions against the Southeast Asian country.
Trump and Kim held summits in Singapore in June 2018 and in Hanoi in February 2019, but talks broke off after the two sides were unable to bridge an impasse between their respective positions. The second round of talks between the two countries failed after Trump walked away from the summit, claiming that Kim had insisted on the removal of all sanctions on North Korea in return for its denuclearization. Pyongyang rejected that account, stressing that it had only asked for a partial lifting of the bans.
The North Korean leader has since aired his displeasure with short-range missile tests apparently aimed at pressuring Washington and Seoul.
North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and May 9, ending a pause in launches that began in late 2017. The tests have been seen as a way for Pyongyang to pressure Washington to soften its stance on easing sanctions against it without actually causing the negotiations to collapse.
A senior North Korean diplomat also stated that the United States does not have much time left to develop a new strategy to revive talks with Pyongyang about the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has accused the United States of showing bad faith in negotiations by conducting nuclear and missile tests as well as military drills on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang also announced that negotiations between the United States and North Korea will not resume until the US administration backs off from what Pyongyang has characterized as a unilateral demand that it disarm.
North Korea warned the US that the agreement the two sides reached in Singapore last year could be at risk if Washington keeps putting undue pressure on Pyongyang to make it take unilateral measures towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
An unnamed North Korean foreign ministry spokesman complained in a statement in early June about Washington’s refusal to drop the policy of “only insisting on our unilateral surrender of nuclear weapons” a year after Trump and Kim signed the agreement during their first summit in Singapore in June 2018.
In April, Kim gave Trump a deadline until the end of the 2019 calendar year to formulate a deal which would be acceptable to both sides.
Washington has imposed rounds of unilateral sanctions and spearheaded multilateral ones against Pyongyang since 2006 over its nuclear and missile programs. The bans have mostly targeted Pyongyang’s exports, including coal, iron, lead, textiles, and seafood, while also hindering the imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.
Trump and Kim came together once more earlier this month, this time in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the North from the South Korea.