North Korea announced on Tuesday that it is "carefully examining" launching a missile strike at the U.S. territory of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean, but that is far from the country's first act of agression towards the United States. The Kim Jong Un regime has been testing missiles that could travel as far as 6,500 miles, according to some experts, putting many major U.S. cities on edge — including Anchorage, Alaska, the closest U.S. city to North Korea.
Alaska is a considerable distance from the mainland of the United States, meaning that parts of the state are actually only about 3,000 miles away from North Korea. That's closer than Anchorage is to Washington, D.C., according to the Alaska Dispatch News.
One of North Korea's many missile test launches last month proves that Alaska could soon be within firing range, but many leaders in the state, which has a population of over 700,000, haven't expressed concern that Anchorage would ever be a target.
"I haven't seen any evidence of that," Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan told the Alaska Dispatch. "The risk to Alaska is simply the flight path of any intercontinental ballistic missile coming our way would come through our air space first."
Of course, Alaska isn't the only state that has weighed the frightening possibility of a potential North Korea missile launch. Some researchers estimate that a nuclear ballistic missile fired by North Korea could reach Hawaii within 20 minutes.
Hawaii's capital city of Honolulu, which has a population of almost 375,000, is approximately 4,500 miles away from North Korea. More significantly, Hawaii is a key post for U.S. military bases, making it perhaps more vulnerable than other locations across the country.
On the mainland, Seattle, Washington has been named as a city on the West Coast that could face a threat from North Korea, especially given its booming technology industry, dense population of over 700,000, and relative proximity to North Korea (around 5,000 miles).
Of course, none of these cities necessarily has real cause for concern just yet. Although North Korea has been testing missiles and advancing its nuclear program in recent years, there is not yet proof that Kim's regime has the capability to fire a functioning missile at major U.S. cities, or that it has any immediate plans to do so. But the proximity of these cities to North Korea is sure to be a topic of discussion in the coming weeks as tensions between North Korea and the United States continue to escalate.