In this photo distributed by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, inspects the preparation of the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea's northwest Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this photo. North Korea claimed to have tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile in a launch Tuesday, a potential game-changing development in its push to militarily challenge Washington â€” but a declaration that conflicts with earlier South Korean and U.S. assessments that it had an intermediate range. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
What is an ICBM and why should we be worrying?
Here is what we know now.
What is an ICBM?
An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a missile that has the ability to carry a warhead more than 3,400 miles either through the air, or through space.
The missile must be able to survive re-entry if it flies through space.
The missile would normally be used to deliver a nuclear weapon but could carry conventional warheads.
An ICBM is different from other ballistic missiles because it can be launched more quickly and can fly farther than other ballistic missiles.
What does “ballistic missile” mean?
A ballistic missile is powered and guided toward a target but falls under gravity onto its target. The trajectory is a high, arching path.
What kinds of missiles has North Korea tested?
Pentagon officials said they detected an ICBM launched on July 28 by North Korea.
It traveled about 620 miles from Mupyong-ni, where it was launched, before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. The trip took about 45 minutes.
North Korea’s leader is considered unstable and his regime is a brutal one. It is believed that North Korea spends between one-quarter and one-third of its GDP on the military and weapons development in a country where nearly 2 million people starved to death in the 1990s.
On the first of the year, Kim promised that his country would carry out a test of an ICBM. After seven months, it has. Defense officials in North Korea say they exploded a hydrogen bomb in 2016.