North Korea fired intercontinental ballistic missile, initial assessment shows: US official
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — An initial assessment shows that North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday that flew for more than 40 minutes, traveling 620 miles horizontally into the Sea of Japan, a U.S. official said.
Assessments of the launch, which was detected at about 10:41 a.m. ET (11:41 p.m. local time), are continuing.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement, “The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.”
Davis added that the first U.S. confirmation of the launch occurred while the missile was still in flight.
The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni, an arms plant in the far north of North Korea, and traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, Davis said. The landing was inside of Japan’s Economic Exclusion Zone, about 88 nautical miles west of Hokkaido. Davis said the missile was in the air for at least 40 minutes.
“Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad. We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation,” Davis said.
Friday’s ballistic missile launch is North Korea’s 11th ballistic missile test this year and the first since North Korea launched an historic ICBM on July 4, an action U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said represented “a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region and the world.”
That ICBM flew at a trajectory of 1,730 miles above Earth for 37 minutes before crashing into the Sea of Japan.
A U.S. official told ABC News earlier this week that North Korea could test another ICBM as early as Wednesday night.
U.S. officials had suspected a test could occur on July 27 to mark the North Korean holiday known as “Day of Victory,” which celebrates the end of hostilities in the Korean War in 1953.
But rainy weather at the launch location and technical difficulties appeared to have prevented a launch until late Friday night.
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