North Korea Nuclear Weapons Range

Picture of North Korea Nuclear Weapons Range

Here is what we know about North Korea's nuclear capabilities and motivation. Who is in range of its missiles? "The entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office" said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said during his 2018 New Year's address. The Hwasong-15, North Korea's furthest-reaching intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), could theoretically travel about 13,000km.

This potentially puts the whole world within range, except for: Latin America Antartica This theoretical range was estimated based on the Hwasong-15 performance in a test-launch on November 29, when it flew for about 53 minutes before landing in the sea. Earlier in July, North Korea's test-launched the Hwasong-14, with a theoretical range of 10,400km. The missile flew for about 45 minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan.

On September 15, North Korea's also tested its mid-range Hwasong-12 missile which travelled about 3,700km over Japan, and has a range potential of 4,000km, which includes Guam, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean. Can the missiles be shot down?  The US, South Korea and Japan are equipped with anti-missile systems that could potentially intercept and destroy ballistic missiles fired from North Korea, although missile intercept failures are common.

The US' anti-missile system was declared ready in 2004, but since then many intercept tests have failed. South Korea has six Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) batteries deployed in Seongju, south of Seoul, and Japan is also equipped with the Patriot and the Aegis anti-ballistic missile systems. WATCH: Why didn't Japan shoot down North's missiles? (0:58)  Can it launch a nuclear attack? North Korea claims that it can mount miniaturised nuclear warheads on its missiles, but these claims have not been independently verified.

To launch a nuclear attack, North Korea would need to produce nuclear devices small enough to fit on its missiles - this is not known to have yet been successfully developed and tested. In March 2016, North Korea's KCNA news agency released a photo of Kim Jong-un in front of a small, ball-like object which it said was a miniaturised nuclear warhead. In September 2017, KCNA released a photo of the North Korean leader inspecting what it said was a hydrogen bomb that can be loaded on an ICBM.

Undated photo of Kim Jong-un released on September 3, 2017 [KCNA/Reuters] How many nukes does it have? While North Korea asserts it will keep building up its nuclear arsenal in "quality and quantity", US officials estimate it has 60 nuclear weapons, whereas independent experts estimate it has enough uranium to produce six new nuclear bombs a year. In September 2016, Siegfried Hecker of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, estimated that North Korea produced enough highly enriched uranium to make six additional nuclear bombs a year.

Hecker had toured North Korea's main Yongbyon nuclear facility in 2010. Experts and governments estimate plutonium production levels from tell-tale signs of reactor operation in satellite imagery. Does it have the H-bomb? In September 2017, North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test, this time detonating what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb (also known as an H-bomb). The yield of the nuclear blast was estimated at about 100 kilotons, and was first detected as an earthquake of 6.

3 magnitude with a depth of 23km. The tremor was also felt in China, 400km from the test site. An H-bomb can be 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. In January 2016, North Korea claimed to have detonated its first hydrogen bomb, but nuclear scientists examining the impact of the test questioned if the test was really that of an H-bomb. How North Korea's latest nuclear test compares to the largest detonations around the world https://t.

co/lKXVAPlm4F — Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 5, 2017 How did it get nuclear weapons? North Korea seems to be pursuing the development of nuclear weapons capability on its own. Its nuclear programme started in the Soviet era with the construction of a nuclear reactor in Yongbyon in 1965, while it's first successful nuclear test was carried in 2006. North Korea carried its sixth nuclear test in 2017 at the Punggye-ri site.

The experiment had been expected from April. Satellite images had shown workers pumping water out of a tunnel believed to have been being prepared for a forthcoming nuclear test, US monitors had said. North Korea has a rich source of fissile material, both plutonium from its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and highly enriched uranium from other sites, US-based researchers claim. Although the Yongbyon nuclear facility was built with help from Soviet engineers, the Soviet Union and China have denied supplying North Korea with nuclear weapons or helping it to build them.

China fought alongside the North Koreans in the 1953 Korean War, but in the interest of political stability in the region, claims to strongly oppose North Korea's nuclear weapons programme. Pakistan and India have both been linked to North Korea's nuclear programme.  In 2004, Pakistan's lead nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, was put under house arrest for transferring nuclear technology, including centrifuges, to North Korea and other countries.

In a 2016 UN report accused an Indian technology institute of violating sanctions on North Korea by providing specialised training on " space instrumentation" to a North Korean student later involved in the Unha-3 rocket  launch in 2012. Why does it test nuclear weapons? Analysis of the North Korean government's statements suggest that the leadership in Pyongyang sees in nuclear weapons the following benefits: 1.

Guaranteeing security of the state 2. Economic development and prosperity 3. Gaining respect and prestige in the international arena In April, North Korea's vice foreign minister said: "We've got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a US pre-emptive strike." Pyongyang suspects that the annual joint drills between the US and South Korea are a rehearsal for an invasion of North Korea.

North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Choe Myong-nam, referred to those drills to justify his country's nuclear pursuits: "It is because of these hostile activities on the part of the United States and South Korea that we strengthen our national defence capability, as well as pre-emptive strike capabilities with nuclear forces as a centrepiece." North Korea also accused the CIA of plotting to assassinate its leader Kim Jong-un, while CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced a dedicated Mission Centre for the "serious threats .

.. emanating from North Korea". Has North Korea declared war? North Korea has not gone to war with any country since 1950, but has threatened to launch a "great war of justice for [Korean] national reunification" and to attack the US mainland in "full-out war... under the situation where the US hurts the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] by force of arms." Following UN sanctions which North Korea considered a "violent violation of our sovereignty", Pyongyang has also threatened to attack Guam.

The Korean Peninsula was divided after the World War II in 1945. Nearly five years later, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the three-year Korean War. The war ended in 1953 with an armistice (not a peace treaty) which means that North Korea is still technically at war with South Korea. The US has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, while the Korean Peninsula has been divided by a 4km-wide demilitarised zone stretching 250km along the border.

This year, several shows of force and provocative threats have been exchanged between the US and North Korea since the joint military drills with South Korea began in March. On August 29, four South Korean fighter jets bombed targets in North Korea after its latest ballistic missile test-launch while in September, it simulated an attack on North's latest nuclear test site. North Korea has defiantly carried out missile test-launches despite regional and US condemnation and continues to develop its nuclear weapons capability.

Here's a brief history of how North and South Korea got to where they are today: — Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 28, 2017

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KIM Jong-un, the tyrannical leader of North Korea, has repeatedly threatened to launch nuclear strikes on the West and its allies. The hermit nation has dramatically accelerated its nuclear weapons program under his rule, leading to a series of disputes between Kim and President Donald Trump. Here's the latest... Reuters A North Korea test launch of a Hwasong-12 missile What nuclear weapons does North Korea have? In July 2017, North Korea successfully launched the country's first inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), which had the capability of reaching US territory.

The Pentagon, the US military headquarters, believes North Korea has around 200 missile launchers across the country, which can be used to fire short and medium-range missiles. The most likely target of such a missile launch would be South Korea, Japan, Australia and possibly US territories in the Pacific Ocean. Revised estimates suggest the total number of missiles the rogue state has is believed to be between 13 and 21.

And the regime is estimated to have at least four nuclear warheads. How big is North Korea's army and what missiles does Kim Jong-un have? Before the test of a suspected hydrogen bomb, North Korea had conducted a series of underground detonations of atomic weapons of increasing power. Satellite images of Jong-un's main missile test site in August revealed North Korea's weapons were more powerful than initially thought.

Careful analysis of North Korean tests sites, using images from Planet, reveal the regime has been gradually building up the size of its missiles. On November 28, 2017, North Korea launched ICBM Hwasong-15 – which is a new nuclear missile capable of hitting anywhere on the planet. Pyongyang said the mega-missile then reached an altitude of around 2,780 miles - more than ten times the height of the international space station - and flew 600 miles during its 53-minute flight.

But one physicist said the missile appeared to have a realistic attack range of just over 8,000 miles, which means Washington DC is now in range - along with Australia and Europe. READ MORE: Could World War 3 happen? How North Korea and Kim Jong-un could cause a nuclear apocalypse Planet/ Quartz Satellite images show activity at a North Korea nuke site Why have tensions between North Korea and the US escalated this year? April 9: A US strike force was sent towards the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula.

April: President Trump ramped up the pressure on China to take action against the secretive state by declaring the US would “solve the problem” alone if it did not step up. April 14: During parades marking 105 years since the state’s founder Kim Il-sung was born, a devastating arsenal was on show. Hours before the parade a top general had told North Korean state TV: "We’re prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war”.

April 15: North Korea again enraged the US with a missile test but this time it was an embarrassing flop exploding almost immediately. April 17: US Vice President Mike Pence told Pyongyang the "era of patience is over" as he warned tubby tyrant Kim Jong-un not to test Trump as plans were made to send a missile defence system to South Korea earlier than planned. April 19: Vice President Mike Pence warned Kim Jong-un the US would "defeat any attack" as he spoke to soldiers aboard a massive aircraft carrier.

April 28: North Korea launched a devastating attack on the US Capitol to spark World War Three in a terrifying propaganda film. May 2: Kim Jong-un warned that it would be a "piece of cake" to nuke Japan - warning that those who tried to retaliate and their supports would not be safe May 11: The hermit state said that it has the right to “ruthlessly punish” any US citizens after it detained a fourth American at the start of May May 5: Pyongyang announced it would seek the extradition of anyone involved in what it says was a CIA-backed plot to kill leader Kim Jung-un with a biochemical poison June 13: North Korea threatened to nuke Trump's home town of New York after he mocked the missile programme.

July 5: North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile which analysts say has a range of 6,700 kilometres and brings Alaska within reach. Pyongyang later said it was a “landmark” test of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile.  Trump responded with an tweet saying; "Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?". July 31: It was reported that Donald Trump was ready to order a military strike against a North Korean nuclear weapons facility hidden beneath a mountain range.

August 8: Trump warned North Korea faces “fire and fury” if  it threatens the US – as intelligence documents reveal Kim Jong-un has made mini nukes to attach to his new rockets August 10: North Korean state media said it was planning to launch four rockets towards the US territory of Guam. August 10: Trump declared North Korea "better get their act together" or they will be in trouble like "few nations have ever been".

He also suggested he might not have been tough enough with his previous comments on the rogue state. August 11: The Sun revealed Britain would play no part in a military strike on the communist state in a move that was slammed as “weak and ill-judged" by ex-Commander of British Forces Afghanistan Colonel Richard Kemp. August 11: Speaking from his New Jersey golf resort Trump told North Korea it would "truly regret" any action it takes against Guam.

August 12: New satellite images of North Korea bases appear to show the volatile state is overhauling its missile sub fleet. August 15: North Korea appeared to back down from an imminent strike by saying Kim Jong-un would watch "the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees" before deciding whether to fire on Guam. August 28: It was reported that North Korea had fired a missile towards northern Japan.

 Residents were called to take immediate shelter underground. August 29: Officials confirmed the North's missile launch. The "unidentified projectile" hurtled over the country before breaking into pieces, according to South Korea's military. August 31: The US responded to Kim Jing-un's latest missile outrage with a terrifying show of strength, dropping huge bombs near the North Korean border. September 3: The West awakes to the news North Korea has detonated a nuclear device in a test.

The blast triggered an artificial earthquake six times larger than any previous test. September 4: James Mattis, the US Defence Secretary, warned of a "massive military response" to any threat from North Korea against the United States or its allies. September 6: North Korea promised a "redoubling" of its nuclear arsenal in response to threatened sanctions and warned the US faced "catastrophic consequences".

September 10/11: Two Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missiles were test-fired with a range of more than 6,210 miles. September 15: North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific, responding to new UN sanctions with its furthest-ever missile flight. September 25: North Korea threatened to attack US warplanes and accused Donald Trump of declaring war. September 26: North Korea moved jet fighters to the coast to intercept US bombers October 1: Trump says US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with “Little Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un.

October 3: North Korea threatened "suicidal" Japan with “nuclear clouds” as it blasted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for the world to pile more pressure on the rogue state. October 7: Trump issues chilling threat to North Korea, insisting "only one thing will work" when dealing with the rogue state. October 17: In remarks prepared for the UN, North Korea's ambassador wrote: "The entire US mainland is within our firing range and if the US dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe.

" October 27: Experts worry the secretive country could eventually develop a long-range missile tipped with a nuclear warhead capable of hitting countries as far away as the UK. October 30: Reports say North Korea is readying itself for war by staging mass evacuation and blackout drills in its biggest towns and cities outside the capital Pyongyang. October 31: A massive nuclear base in North Korea collapses with up to 200 people inside, according to Japanese media, prompting fears of a Chernobyl-style radioactive leak.

November 6: Kim-Jong-un called Donald Trump a 'lunatic old man' bent on triggering an apocalypse. November 7: Donald Trump warned the US will use ‘full range’ of military force as North Korea vows to ‘bolster its nuclear sword of justice’ during his visit to South Korea. November 29: Kim Jong-un declared his country a fully fledged nuclear power after launching a new missile he claimed was capable of hitting anywhere on the planet.

December: The UN applied more sanctions against North Korea in response to its recent ballistic missile test. AP:Associated Press North Korea parades nukes through the street at parades marking 105 years since the state’s founder Kim Il-sung was born What sanctions are in place against North Korea? The UN approved a new raft of sanctions against the hermit kingdom which could slash their export revenue by a third.

The US-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood following Pyongyang’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean labourers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures. North Korea denounced the sanctions, saying they infringed on its sovereignty and vowed to take “righteous action”, according to the North’s official news agency.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the support of China and Russia for the latest sanctions sent a strong message to North Korea about what was expected of it. North Korea launched a missile over Japan at on August 29 2017 Could North Korea launch a nuclear strike on the UK? Following today's test US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said North Korea's missiles can "threaten everywhere in the world".

The pariah state claimed a nuclear test back in September - its most powerful yet - was a sophisticated 120 kiloton hydrogen bomb small enough to be carried on a missile. The regime has successfully tested two Hwasong-14 long-range rockets over the Pacific Ocean causing significant concern for Japan - a crucial American ally. The intercontinental ballistic missile is said to have a potential range of more than 10,000 kilometres or 6,200 miles.

If that were true, London would fall within its strike zone. The UK capital is 5,388 miles from Pyongyang. A 100 kiloton H-bomb blast on central London would dwarf the US nukes dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Experts say 130,000 people would be killed instantly and all brick and concrete buildings within a mile of the epicentre would be destroyed. Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has previously warned that Britain is at risk from North Korea’s long-range nuclear missile programme as some cities are closer than American targets.

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