|Hwasong-14 Ballistic Missile|
WASHINGTON, July 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's latest missile launch showed that the communist nation could possess an operational intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking targets on the U.S. West Coast in the next year or two, a top U.S. missile expert said Tuesday,
"My reconstruction of the missile's trajectory, assuming the North Korean claims are correct, give it a maximum range of perhaps 8,000 kilometers," John Schilling, a consultant to the 38 North website, told Yonhap News Agency.
"At that distance, it could probably reach the tip of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and maybe the city of Seattle, but just short of the performance it would need to reach the more interesting and strategically valuable West Coast targets like the naval base at San Diego," he said.
He said there could have been a performance shortfall and some additional testing will be required.
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