North Korea says ICBM test used new launch vehicle, showed successful warhead re-entry


North Korea said a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) it test-fired on Wednesday was launched from a newly developed vehicle and that the its warhead could withstand the pressure of re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally guided the missile test and said the new launcher was “impeccable”, state media said. He described the new vehicle as a “breakthrough”.

Observers and analysts have cast doubt on North Korea’s ability to master the technology needed to design a warhead capable of withstanding the enormous pressure of re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere and suggested the isolated country may still be years away from developing a credible delivery vehicle for a nuclear weapon.

But Wednesday’s launch re-confirmed “the safety of a warhead in the atmospheric re-entry environment,” state media said, without elaborating.