North Korea claims to have tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile



AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

(Via ABC News)

North Korea today said it successfully test-fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the latest in a series of recent launches from the country.

If confirmed, the launch would be a significant development for the North Korean regime, which has been working to develop an ICBM capable of hitting the United States.

The United States has previously indicated that it would shoot down any such missiles flown over international waters to warn and deter North Korea from further long-range launches.

ICBMs, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, typically have a minimum range of about 3,420 miles.

U.S. officials, who have not confirmed the report, had previously described a missile launched from North Pyongyang as intermediate-range, not intercontinental.

President Trump took to Twitter Monday, before the Pentagon issued an official statement on the matter, to respond to reports that North Korea had conducted another missile test.

“North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” the president tweeted late Monday, presumably referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “Hard to believe that South Korea … and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all.”

U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials Monday said the missile flew for about 40 minutes and reached an altitude of about 1,500 miles, which would be longer and higher than any other similar tests previously reported, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.

A U.S. official said earlier that the type of missile launched by North Korea was still being determined, though it was described as a land-based intermediate ballistic missile.

“We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment,” the U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement Monday. “We continue to monitor North Korea’s actions closely.”

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) assessed that the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.

The launch marks North Korea’s 10th ballistic missile test this year.

A spokesman for Japan’s cabinet said the North Korean missile had landed inside Japan’s Economic Zone, which stretches 200 miles from the Japanese shoreline.