Kim Jong Un’s Quest for an ICBM

The State of North Korea’s Missile Program

North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un watches a missile launch at an undisclosed location, released March 2016. KCNA / Reuters

North Korea is on track to conduct a record number of missile tests this year, with the ultimate goal of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States. During his 2017 New Year’s Day speech, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un said that his country had “entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of an ICBM.” North Korean state media outlets have repeatedly asserted that despite international protests, the country has the right to conduct such a test at the time of its choosing. And during an April 15 parade in Pyongyang, the regime showed off two different kinds of vehicles, six apiece, each carrying large missile canisters apparently designed to carry ICBMs. 

No one doubts that Kim Jong Un wants an ICBM; many, however, wonder whether his missileers are close to delivering one that works. North Korea

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