The US has confirmed that North Korea yesterday tested a long-range missile, raising fears the country could be capable of firing rockets to the US state of Alaska.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said:
The United States strongly condemns North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world. Global action is required to stop a global threat. Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime. All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons. We intend to bring North Korea’s provocative action before the UN Security Council and enact stronger measures to hold the DPRK accountable.
North Korea released a statement on Tuesday claiming to have successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with Japan saying it appeared to have landed in its waters.
The country said, via its state broadcaster, that it now has the capability to fire a missile that “can reach anywhere in the world”.
Korea Central Television (KCTV) said on air:
As a strongest nuclear state with the best ICBM rockets, North Korea will end the US nuclear war threats and defence peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.
The announcer said the test missile — North Korea’s 11th so far this year — reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers (1741 miles) and that Kim Jong Un had personally overseen the “landmark” test of a Hwasong-14 missile.
The missile is thought to have flown into waters east of the Korean Peninsula and may have landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coastline.
The launch comes on the eve of the US Independence Day holiday and just before the start of the G20 summit in Hamburg.
If the country’s reports are accurate it means the regime could be closer to being able to strike the US mainland.
US president Donald Trump, who has previously criticised North Korea’s military exercises and China’s tacit support of Kim Jong Un’s regime, swiftly took to Twitter to share his feelings on the launch.
He tweeted that he thought it would “hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this for much longer”, and called North Korea’s sabre rattling antics “nonsense”.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s president Moon Jae-In is reported to have released a statement:
The initial analysis by South Korean and the U.S. authorities is assuming that today’s provocation was of a mid-to-long range missile, but we are not ruling out the possibility of the missile being ICBM class.