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ICBM Launch: Is North Korea Preparing to Test the Ultimate Weapon?

North Korea responded Wednesday to the Pentagon’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) intercept test by threatening to reduce the U.S. to ashes.

“We’re prepared to test-fire ICBMs anywhere and anytime on orders from the supreme commander,”  the Rodong Sinmun paper wrote in an article headlined: “No one can stop the nuclear power state, rocketry master in the East.” The article was released after the Air Force conducted an ICBM intercept test, firing an interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at a mock ICBM fired from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific.

The intercept test, which comes at a time when the U.S. is keeping a wary eye on North Korea’s missile program, was successful.

“In a broad sense, North Korea is one of the reasons why we have this capability,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said of the intercept test Tuesday. “They continue to conduct test launches, as we saw this weekend, while also using dangerous rhetoric that suggests they would strike the United States homeland.”

North Korea has launched 12 missiles this year and successfully tested three new missile systems, two of which may be the technological predecessors to an eventual North Korean ICBM. Earlier this year, Kim Jong Un announced that North Korea is close to testing a long-range missile.

“We have reached the final stage of preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile,” the young dictator said in his New Year’s address. “Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing.”

The U.S. “must know our declaration that we can turn the devils’ den into ashes with nuclear weapons is not an empty threat,” the Rodong Sinmun said in its report Tuesday.

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