For years, North Korea has been working steadily to build missiles with sufficient range to strike at its potential enemies, no matter how far afield.
For a long time, it has been producing missiles with the range to hit its regional neighbours, but what it really wants is to develop some which can strike as far away as the United States. Now, it may have done exactly that – at least in theory.
In 2017, North Korea had its first successful test of a long-range ballistic missile. It was the first weapon North Korea could theoretically use to attack the United States, and it turned a lot of heads.
Ballistic missiles are incredibly difficult to stop, with some describing missile defence as being like “hitting a bullet with another bullet”.
Long-range missiles are seriously complex weapons. They are designed to fly in an arc for hundreds, if not thousands of kilometres into the upper atmosphere, reaching space, before they re-enter the Earth and deliver a warhead to a target, sometimes with an accuracy of just a few metres.
So, how scared do we need to be about North Korea’s missiles? Al Jazeera’s Alex Gatopoulos explains in the second episode of Project Force.
This episode was produced, edited and animated by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Adam Adada.