North Korea has fired an ICBM, traveling 620 miles into the Sea of Japan.
For the second time this month, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile Friday, sending the projectile 600 miles into the Sea of Japan.
The Pentagon said in a statement that the missile was launched from Mupyong-ni in North Korea’s Chagang province and never posed a threat to North America.
“We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected,” the statement said.
North Korea test-launched its first ICBM on July 4 in a major step toward developing nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching the United States.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called an emergency meeting of his National Security Council, the Associated Press reported.
Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said North Korea fired the missile at 11:42 p.m. local time Friday in a rare night launch. Japanese officials said the missile was airborne for about 45 minutes.
Suga said Japan lodged a strong protest with North Korea. “North Korea’s repeated provocative acts absolutely cannot be accepted,” he said.
The missile landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido. Japan’s national public broadcaster NHK reported the coast guard issued safety warnings to aircraft and ships after the launch was detected.
North Korea, which did not immediately confirm the launch, frequently makes a high-profile military gesture on important holidays. Thursday marked a major national holiday called Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War Day.
Analysts say the “Hwasong 14” ICBM launched by North Korea on July 4 could be capable of reaching most of Alaska or possibly Hawaii if fired in an attacking trajectory. It was launched at a very steep angle, a technique called lofting, and reached a height of more than 1,550 miles before splashing down in the ocean 580 miles away.
After the July 4 launch, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency’s revised consensus forecast concluded in a confidential assessment that North Korea likely would be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM as early as next year, some two years sooner than previous estimates, The Washington Post reported.
Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, told the National Press Club in Washington this week that there was still the possibility for a non-military solution to the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, but “time is running out.”
“North Korea is extremely dangerous and more dangerous as the weeks go by,” he said.
Contributing: Associated Press
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2w6xMbn