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North Korean ICBM could hit US in 33 minutes due to gaps in America’s missile defence, study claims

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North Korean ICBM could hit central US in 33 minutes due to gaps in America’s missile defence ‘kill chain’, China claims

  • North Korea would be able to hit the United States, the Beijing study said
  • The study said the missiles would be ‘sufficient to hit the entire US homeland’ 

North Korea could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at the United States that would hit the country in just 33 minutes, China has claimed.

Scientists in Beijing have simulated the ICBM launch and believe Pyongyang would be able to hit the country should the U.S.’s nuclear defence fail to intercept the missile.

The team of scientists from the Beijing Institute of Electronic System Engineering said North Korea’s nuclear-capable Hwasong-15 missile with a range of over 8,000 miles (around 13,000 kilometres) would be ‘sufficient to hit the entire US homeland’.

The simulation also suggested that there were gaps in the U.S. nuclear defence armoury.

The scientists said their tests showed the existing US missile defence network had gaps in its ‘kill chain’ and would struggle to identify and defend against an attack.

A ballistic missile is pictured being launched from an undisclosed location in North Korea, February 20

A ballistic missile is pictured being launched from an undisclosed location in North Korea, February 20

A missile is displayed during a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea's army, February 8

A missile is displayed during a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea’s army, February 8

The new research and simulation published by China’s top institute for aerospace defence was led by scientist Tang Yuyan and released in the Modern Defence Technology Journal for February.

The simulation started with a launch from Sunchon, a North Korean city south of capital Pyongan, and targeted Columbia in Missouri. The specific location was selected for its centrality in the middle of America. 

Running the tests, the team said a theoretical launch would cause the U.S. to receive an alert 20 seconds later.

Within 11 minutes, the U.S.’s nuclear defence  would fall into action as intercepting missiles would blast out of Fort Greely in Alaska’s Southeast Fairbanks Census Area.]

A second phase of missiles would then launch Vandenberg Space Force Base in California should the first defence fail. 

Tang’s team said the U.S. defence was impressive but they said the simulation identified some gaps in the ‘kill chain’ that a nation such as North Korea could exploit.

The study claimed that the reason for the research was to evaluate the effectiveness of U.S. nuclear defence capabilities. 

The most recent simulation follows another Chinese study released earlier this year which marked potential targets for China’s hypersonic weapons.

The first wave of a hypothetical attack would aim at some of the largest ground-based radars in the U.S., the study said.

It would target Beale Air Force Base in California’s Yuba county and the Cape Cod peninsula.

Those bases were identified as they would be vulnerable to hypersonic weapons that are able to move unpredictably and strike at five-times the speed of sound, the study said. 

The test-firing of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) "Hwasong-15", at Pyongyang International Airport in February 2023

The test-firing of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) “Hwasong-15”, at Pyongyang International Airport in February 2023

The nation's dictator Kim Jong Un has also been incredibly public with the testing, combining it with appearances of his rarely seen daughter

The nation’s dictator Kim Jong Un has also been incredibly public with the testing, combining it with appearances of his rarely seen daughter

The study also follows continued launching and testing of several ballistic missiles by North Korea.

For some months, North Korea has conducted tests firing short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.

The nation’s dictator Kim Jong Un has also been incredibly public with the testing, combining it with appearances of his rarely seen daughter.

Analysts have dubbed the combined appearance of the girl and the missile testing as an effort to remind the world he has no intentions to voluntarily surrender his nuclear weapons, which he apparently sees as the strongest guarantee of his survival and the extension of his family’s dynastic rule.

Western countries have strongly condemned the testing. South Korea called the repeated missile launches a grave provocation threatening the region’s peace and security, and a U.S. State Department spokesperson criticised the launches as violation of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

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