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Here's What You Need to Know About North Korea's Latest Missile Test Launch

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On Tuesday, North Korea claimed to have successfully tested the launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that the country says can "reach anywhere in the world," according to CNN. The "reaching anywhere in the world" part isn't really true—but this is still a big deal.

CNN reports that Tuesday's missile test was North Korea's 11th test so far this year, and that this one was the most successful one yet. The missile, called KN-14, appeared to travel more than 500 miles in 40 minutes. The test came shortly after President Donald Trump spoke with Chinese and Japanese leaders about the nuclear threat, and amplifies concerns about international security just before Trump leaves this weekend to join other world leaders at the annual G-20 Summit in Germany.

President Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to announce that North Korea conducted its missile test, saying, "Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?"—most likely referring to North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. 

So, what could happen if this missile is actually launched? In an interview with the BBC, physicist David Wright says that the missile would be able to reach Alaska but would not hit Hawaii or the other 48 states. North Korea still hasn't created a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a missile, and we're also not sure if their missiles can survive re-entry into the atmosphere—so we're not in imminent danger.

According to Reuters, China and South Korea are currently opposed to the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defense system operating in South Korea, which is a system that would shoot down ballistic missiles in the region. However, South Korea’s newly elected president Moon Jae-In condemned North Korea’s actions, and, according to the BBC, Russia and China have deemed the missile tests as “unacceptable.”

CNN reports that during Russian President Vladimir Putin's joint conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Putin declared Russia's plan to convince North Korea to "immediately freeze its ballistic missile strikes."

International security remains an incredibly sensitive issue, and Tuesday's missile test launch only adds to the already-sticky situation. Over the past few years, the United States has been unable to stop Pyongyang from expanding its nuclear missile program, and this latest development makes the possibility of peace seem pretty unlikely—at least in the near future. We're just hoping President Trump can do more than tweet about this all-too-real global problem.


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