Kim Jong Un's first announcement of 2017—that North Korea is in the "final stages" of development of a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile and a test launch is imminent—may very well be a credible one. Reuters talks to international weapons experts in the wake of Kim's claim, and uses the word "plausible" to describe their reaction to his test timeline. As Melissa Hanham with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies puts it, " The bottom line is Pyongyang is much further along in their missile development than most people realize." She expects an ICBM "flight test" this year.
Reuters reports that it would likely take North Korea several more years to develop a weapon advanced enough to travel 5,500 miles to the US; the low end of an ICBM's range is 3,400 miles. The US State Department had strong words for the country on Sunday, per Yonhap: "We call on all states to use every available channel and means of influence to make clear to the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and its enablers that launches using ballistic missile technology are unacceptable, and take steps to show there are consequences to the DPRK's unlawful conduct." (Read more North Korea stories.)