In reality, the North Korean rocket fired twice last month — the Hwasong-14 — is a 'sub-level' ICBM that will not be able to deliver nuclear warheads to the continental United States.
President Donald Trump continued his blustery North Korea rhetoric on Friday, tweeting that the U.S. military was "locked and loaded" and later telling reporters that Kim Jong-un had better not make any "overt threats" against the United States.
"This man will not get away with what he is doing," Trump told reporters from his golf club in New Jersey, adding that if Kim makes a move against the U.S. or its allies "he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast."
In the midst of this spike in tension between the United States and the Hermit Kingdom, a team of independent rocket experts published a paper Friday asserting that North Korea's two July test firings of supposed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were, in fact, "a carefully choreographed deception by North Korea to create a false impression" that the country has missiles capable of striking the continental U.S.
In other words, it was "a hoax," as one of the experts explained to Newsweek.
The team consisted of Theodore Postol, professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and German missile engineers Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker of Schmucker Technologie. Postol has previously disputed official reports on the parties responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
They opened their paper, published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and titled "North Korea's 'not quite' ICBM can't hit the lower 48 states," by highlighting that the July 3 launch was "trumpeted by the US mainstream press" as proof that the United States was vulnerable to an attack from North Korea.