02 December 2017
New worries have emerged as North Korea made a big leap testing its most advanced missile capable of striking the continental United States, but analysts say it is far from being the “breakthrough” hailed by the regime as it has yet to demonstrate key technologies, including successful re-entry through the atmosphere.
Dr Graham Ong-Webb, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said that the Hwasong-15 test is “certainly a major leap but not a breakthrough”, as North Korea’s missile research and development programme is still incomplete without re-entry tests.
“We can expect Pyongyang to test such technology into 2018 and once they have demonstrated success, then we can say it has more or less arrived,” he told The Straits Times.
It also remains to be seen if the Hwasong-15 can indeed carry a very large and heavy warhead as the regime claimed. But Dr Ong-Webb warned that even with a smaller warhead, a nuclear-tipped Hwasong-15 “would still exact significant destruction on whatever city target it was sent to strike”.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 04/12/2017