Jiji PressSEOUL (Jiji Press) — North Korea said Wednesday it has successfully tested a newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile, resuming provocations in defiance of increasing international pressure on the reclusive country to stop its nuclear and missile development.
The Hwasong-15 missile can strike anywhere in the U.S. mainland, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central Television said in what it called an important announcement.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that the country has achieved its goal of completing the development of a state nuclear force and becoming a missile power, according to the announcement.
The missile was launched to the east from a site near the central North Korean city of Pyongsong around 3:17 a.m. Japan time, according to the joint chiefs of staff of the South Korean military and other sources.
Pyongyang’s fresh provocation is expected to further heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula and prompt the international community to strengthen pressure to make the reclusive nation abandon its nuclear and missile programs.
Mattis: Highest launch so far
According to the South Korean military and other sources, the missile is believed to have reached an altitude of about 4,500 kilometers and fallen into Japan’s exclusive economic zone about 250 kilometers west of Aomori Prefecture after traveling about 960 kilometers.
The missile flew for about 50 minutes. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters in Tokyo that it is highly likely that the missile was launched on a lofted trajectory. The Self-Defense Forces did not take action to intercept the missile.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said North Korea’s latest missile flew higher than any of its previous launches.
According to U.S. experts, the North Korean missile, if fired on a normal trajectory, could have traveled as far as about 13,000 kilometers, capable of reaching the entire U.S. mainland.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the missile launch while speaking to reporters at his office in Tokyo. “Such a reckless act can never be tolerated. We won’t yield to provocations and will increase pressure on North Korea to the maximum,” he said.
UNSC to hold emergency talks
The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Wednesday afternoon local time to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch at the request of Japan, the United States and South Korea.
Speaking at a meeting at the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington takes the missile launch “very seriously.” “We have a very serious approach [to North Korea], but nothing changed,” he said.
Abe and Trump spoke over the phone to discuss a response to the missile launch.
This was the first missile launch by North Korea since the country fired on Sept. 15 a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which fell into the Pacific after passing over Japan.
In August, the Security Council adopted a resolution banning North Korean exports of coal and marine products for its two ICBM launches in July. In September, another resolution adopted by the Security Council for Pyongyang’s nuclear test restricted oil exports to the country.
Following the latest North Korean provocation, the South Korean military conducted a missile drill.
Abe, Moon to raise pressure
TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae In agreed Wednesday on close cooperation among their countries and the United States to strengthen pressure on North Korea to stop the reclusive nation’s continued provocations.
In the 15-minute telephone summit, held in the wake of Pyongyang’s firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier in the day, Abe told Moon that he cannot tolerate at all any missile launch that threatens the national security of both Japan and South Korea. Abe then voiced his willingness to handle the situation together with Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump.