10:37 GMT17 January 2021
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    US media overstated the range of two purported North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month, by reporting the rockets could hit the United States as far east as Chicago, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists said in a report on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists explained the Western press apparently did not know a crucial fact regarding the first missile test on July 3.

    "North Korea’s "not quite" ICBM can’t hit the lower 48 states," the report said.

    "The rocket carried a reduced payload and, therefore, was able to reach a much higher altitude than would have been possible if it had instead carried the weight associated with the type of first-generation atomic bomb North Korea might possess," the report said.

    The longer flight path in the second launch on July 28 led to "yet more unwarranted conclusions" that the continental United States was now directly under threat of nuclear attack by North Korea, the report noted.

    "In this second case, by our calculations, the second stage of the so-called ICBM carried an even smaller payload," the report also said.

    Media reports were often accompanied by maps, showing the western United States within range of the new North Korean Hwasong missile, with circles extending to the outer reaches of Chicago.

    The two launches, plus a leaked intelligence report claiming that North Korea had miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit on top of a rocket, provoked threats from President Donald Trump to attack the country.

    North Korea responded to Trump by claiming it had developed a plan to fire rockets at the US territory of Guam in the western Pacific.


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