Asia Pacific

US detects single North Korea ICBM launch – Pentagon

The U.S. Department of Defense detected and tracked a single launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea, Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Robert Manning said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The U.S. Department of Defense detected and tracked a single North Korea missile launch today at about 1:17 p.m. EDT,” Manning said. “The missile was launched from Sain Ni, North Korea, and traveled about 1000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, within Japan’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ).”

The spokesperson added that the Pentagon is working with interagency partners on a more detailed assessment of the launch. He noted, however, that the missile posed no threat to North America or its allies.

“We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation,” Manning said.

ABC News reported, citing U.S. officials, that the ICBM flew at 2,800 miles (4,500 kilometers) — the highest point yet for a North Korean missile. U.S. authorities have also established that the latest North Korean ICBM stayed in the air for about 50 minutes, which is the longest flight duration for a North Korean missile to date.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis confirmed the reports.

“It [North Korea missile test] went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they have taken,” he said at the White House. “It’s a continued effort to build a…ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace.”

U.S. President Donald J. Trump has been informed of the situation. The missile test is the first launch conducted by North Korea since Washington re-designated Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism on November 20.

After the test, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the United States and Canada will convene a meeting of the United Nations Command Sending States to discuss ways to counter the threat posed by North Korea’s ballistic missile program.

“Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now. The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea,” he said in a statement.

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