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MISSILE DEFENSE
San Diego 'likely' in range of N.Korea ICBM in 2 years: US monitor
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) July 11, 2017


NKorea quake 'not a nuclear test': report
Seoul (AFP) July 12, 2017 - An undersea earthquake off the coast of North Korea was not caused by a nuclear test, the South's media reported Thursday.

The 5.9 magnitude quake struck about 190 kilometres (120 miles) south east of the reclusive state's third largest city, Chongjin, in the early hours of Thursday, according to the United States Geological Survey.

North Korea has staged five nuclear tests -- including two last year -- and has made a significant progress in its missile capability under Kim Jong-Un, who took power in 2011.

But the quake, which did not trigger a tsunami warning, was not caused by a nuclear test, Yonhap news agency reported USGS geophysicist John Bellini as saying.

"It occurred at 500 km below the seabed," he told the agency.

"It's a natural earthquake."

Tensions between Pyongyang and the US soared earlier this month when the North test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, an apparent game-changer in its confrontation with Washington over its nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile is "likely" to be able to deliver a 500 kilogram warhead to San Diego within two years, a US monitoring group said Tuesday, after its launch sparked global alarm last week.

The isolated, nuclear-armed state's first successful ICBM test was described by leader Kim Jong-Un as a gift to "American bastards".

The Hwasong-14 missile is currently estimated to have a range of 7,000-8,000 kilometres -- enough to reach Alaska or Hawaii -- aerospace engineer John Schilling wrote on the respected 38 North website, a monitoring project linked to Johns Hopkins university.

"If the Hwasong-14 is put together the way we think it is, it can probably do a bit better than that when all the bugs are worked out," he wrote, projecting a range of 9,700 kilometres with a 500 kg warhead on board.

"The North Koreans won't be able to achieve this performance tomorrow, but they likely will eventually," he added.

At present it would be "lucky to hit even a city-sized target", he said, citing limits to its re-entry technology.

But with "a year or two of additional testing and development", he added, "it will likely become a missile that can reliably deliver a single nuclear warhead to targets along the US west coast, possibly with enough accuracy to destroy soft military targets like naval bases", such as that at San Diego in California.

The North's missile technology -- which it is banned from developing by the UN Security Council -- has advanced rapidly under Kim, ramping up tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

The impoverished state has also staged five nuclear tests -- including two last year.

Washington is to propose tougher UN sanctions against the North, but analysts say they will have a limited impact unless China -- the North's sole major ally and economic lifeline -- steps up pressure on its neighbour.

Beijing is reluctant to risk destabilising the North, fearing a potential influx of refugees along the frontier or US troops stationed on its border in a unified Korea.

MISSILE DEFENSE
Could America shield Alaska from a N.Korean missile?
Washington (AFP) July 6, 2017
It is every Alaskan's nightmare: finding themselves within range of a North Korean missile. As that fear came one step closer to reality this week, America's ability to block an incoming attack is under scrutiny. On Tuesday the northwestern US state awoke to the news that Pyongyang had test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile which - though it came crashing down in the Sea of Japan ... read more

Related Links
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
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Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com


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