The United States confirmed that North Korea successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time on Tuesday, July 4. In typically heated rhetoric, North Korea said the test marked the final step in building a nuclear weapons system with a worldwide reach.
The test coincided with American Independence Day; North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called the missile a “gift” to America. According to some analysts, the test launch is a direct rebuke to US President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that such a test would not happen.
This is North Korea’s 13th test launch. Pyongyang argues the country must become a nuclear power to defend itself against the threat of invasion. North and South Korea were divided following the Korean War (1950-1953), which ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and as such the two countries are still technically at war.
The United States strongly condemned North Korea’s launch of the ICBM, reiterating that they will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.
As a reminder, travel within North Korea is severely restricted. Whether visiting on business or as a tourist, foreign nationals will almost always be accompanied by a guide, and tours will be restricted to sanctioned areas.