Shock as North Korea fires ballistic missile capable of striking any target in US


North Korea on Tuesday fired a missile that traveled about 1,000 kilometers before crashing into the Sea of Japan, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The Department of Defense said that initial assessments indicated the missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM. In a news conference, Japan’s Defense minister also said it seemed to be an ICBM.

The missile went higher than any shot North Korea had previously taken, according to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered an emergency meeting of Cabinet ministers following the launch, North Korea’s first since Sept. 15, when one flew over northern Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.

“A missile was launched from North Korea which appears to have landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone,” Abe’s office tweeted. “As soon as new information comes in, we will let you know.”

The exclusive economic zone is a legal designation established by the United Nations Law of the Sea.

The South Korean military conducted a “precision missile-firing drill” as a response to the launch, a South Korean military official told NBC.
The North Korean flag is seen at mast past the barbed wire fencing of the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur

President Donald Trump was briefed on the situation while the missile was in the air, the White House said in a statement.

“It is a situation that we will handle,” he said to reporters Tuesday.

“We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment of the launch,” a Pentagon spokesman said. “The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, our territories or our allies.”

“Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad,” he added. “We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation.”

U.N. Security Council President Sebastiano Cardi said he has been in contact with key UN members, but no request has been made yet for a meeting. He said he is scheduled to brief the Security Council on Wednesday.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg strongly condemned the missile test.

“North Korea needs to re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community,” he said.

The missile was fired from Sain Ni, North Korea, the Pentagon said.

South Korea and the United States are analyzing the details of the launch, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Earlier on Tuesday Reuters reported that U.S. government experts believed the regime was likely to launch a missile “within days.”

The launch comes on the heels of Trump’s Nov. 20 announcement that the U.S. is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Trump said on Tuesday that the launch does not change the U.S. approach to North Korea.

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