Though analysts admit that North Korea is one of the most secretive countries on the globe, they also universally agree that North Korea is not capable of launching an intercontinental nuclear missile.
In fact, any attempt at a nuclear missile launch carries the serious risk that the missile could fail and the nuclear payload could well land within North Korean borders.
So far the country’s long-range rocket program has been a mixed bag at best.
A missile test in April 2012 was an abysmal failure, with the rocket breaking up mid-air. The country did make a semi-successful missile launch last December, but there are still a lot of doubts about whether or not North Korea now had the delivery system capable of nuking their opponents on other continents.
In an interview with NPR from that time, one national security expert had this to say:
“They are not there on the nuclear end and would have to have many more tests to have enough confidence that they have a reliable mode of delivery,” Jim Walsh, an expert in international security and a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program. “You need reliability. If you shoot one, you better be pretty confident it is not going to malfunction, hit your own territory and explode.”
Put simply, a nuclear missile is simply not something North Korea would want to fire without a lot of testing.
Given that long range rocket tests are not typically something that can be done in secret, the world would probably know if North Korea further refined their capabilities.
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