What Is North Korea Actually Realistically Capable Of?

Four ballistic North Korean missiles, reportedly ready to launch. This picture was sourced from the country's state-run news agency, so it's impossible to verify. AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS

Apocalypse Soon

So should we all be quaking in our boots? Well, not yet, because North Korea has a major technical problem they have not yet overcome: atmospheric re-entry. When an ICBM launches, it often breaches through several layers of the atmosphere before angling down again to reach its intended target.

However, analysists observing the latest launches pointed out that the extreme heat that builds up during the re-entry process clearly shows that the North Korean ICBMs are disintegrating mid-flight. Right now, the communist regime has the range, but not the appropriate shielding.

Nevertheless, it’s true that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and it looks likely they could place them atop short-range missiles and do untold damage to nearby countries.

Both South Korea and Japan – enemies second only to the United States – are protected to a degree by surface-mounted and ship-mounted missile interceptors, which can accurately and quickly shoot down incoming missiles from North Korea. Admittedly, the efficacy of this system is debated by experts.

Whatever the case, the fact that the threat of a nuclear exchange exists is enough to worry anyone.

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