Condemnation of the launch was swift and the South Korean military responded with a string of ground-to-ground missiles which struck in the vicinity of the area the North Korean missile fell from the sky.
The missile launch follows the U.S. returning North Korea to its State Sponsor of Terrorism list last week.
Its first missile test in over two months, the launch was the first such test of a ballistic missile by North Korea since early 2017. Wednesday’s nighttime missile fire brings the number of missile tests conducted by Pyongyang this year to 20.
“North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea from the vicinity of Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province, at around 3:17 a.m. today,” read a statement issued by South Korean military officials.
According to South Korean and U.S. military sources, the missile was launched from Sain Ni, North Korea, reached an altitude of 2,796 miles, traveled approximately 1,000 miles, and fell into the ocean inside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Officials estimate the missile was airborne for 54 minutes.
Identified as the Hwasong-15, the new intercontinental ballistic missile is believed to have a range of over 8,000 miles, well within the range of the U.S., particularly Washington, D.C.
Describing the test as a success, North Korean State television said launching Hwasong-15 had allowed Pyongyang to realize its goal of becoming a nuclear state, and added the missile was capable of carrying a “super-large, heavy warhead.”
In Washington, President Trump, briefed by the Pentagon, stated the U.S. “would take care of it.”
Striking a tougher tone, Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. envoy to the United Nations, told an emergency Security Council meeting the latest test moved North Korea and the world closer to war.
Warning of the catastrophic events which would follow continued missile tests or outright acts of provocation, Haley urged UN member nations to cut ties with Pyongyang and curb cooperation with the North.
“We have never sought war with North Korea and still today we do not seek it. And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed,” Haley told the UNSC.
[The Diplomat] [The Telegraph] [VOA] [Guardian News/YouTube] [Photo courtesy KCNA/Reuters via Hamodia]