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Wednesday
Nov292017

North Korea says it tested new, nuclear-capable ICBM that can reach continental US

Liu Xingzhe/VCG via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- North Korea said that the intercontinental ballistic missile it launched on Tuesday is a new, nuclear-capable weapon that could reach the entire continental U.S.

State television said Wednesday the new ICBM -- which it called a Hwasong 15 -- was "significantly more" powerful than the previous long-range ICBM the North tested.

The Hwasong 15 reached an altitude of 2,800 miles, making it the highest North Korean missile test to date, two U.S. officials confirmed.

 

It was also the longest duration of any missile flight, traveling in the air for an estimated 50 minutes, an official said.

The launch marks Pyongyang's third intercontinental ballistic missile test and the 15th ballistic missile launch of 2017. It is the latest act of provocation by the hermit nation and its first test in over two months.

"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)," Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning said in a statement.

The missile did not pose a threat to North America, its territories, or its allies, the Department of Defense said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Trump had been briefed on the situation "while [the] missile was still in the air."

Trump later addressed the launch in an appearance before reporters at the White House, pledging: "We will take care of it... it is a situation that we will handle."

And he took to Twitter Tuesday night, writing, "After North Korea missile launch, it's more important than ever to fund our gov't & military! Dems shouldn't hold troop funding hostage for amnesty & illegal immigration. I ran on stopping illegal immigration and won big. They can't now threaten a shutdown to get their demands."

China's foreign ministry said it was "strongly against" the missile launch, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

"The U.N. Security Council has clearly regulated North Korea's missile test and technology," Geng Shuang, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a Foreign Ministry briefing Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. "China is gravely concerned about and strongly opposed to North Korea's missile test. China urges North Korea to implement the U.N. Security Council resolution, to stop any actions that would worsen the situation on the Korea Peninsula. In the meantime, we hope all relevant parties act cautiously and work together to keep regional stability."

French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted in French, "I condemn the new irresponsible ballistic test of North Korea. It reinforces our determination to increase the pressure on Pyongyang and our solidarity with our partners."

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and her counterparts from Japan and South Korea requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council for Wednesday afternoon in response to the test.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency was the first to report the launch, which occurred locally in the early morning hours Wednesday, citing South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile eastward from the vicinity of Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province, at dawn today,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, according to Yonhap.

Earlier in the day, Manning noted "a probable missile launch from North Korea" at "approximately 1:30 p.m. EST," which would be 3:00 a.m. Wednesday in North Korea's capital of Pyongyang.

The launch marks the end of the longest stretch of time that the regime has not conducted a test since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January. North Korea tested its first missile of the year on Feb. 11, 22 days after Trump's inauguration. From March to May, the regime conducted tests every one to two weeks.

The most recent missile launch occurred on Sept. 14, 75 days ago.

On Aug. 8, Trump threatened the regime with "fire and fury like the world has never seen," prompting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to say he would consider sending missiles into the waters off the coast of Guam in "mid-August."

Several weeks later, North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles not toward Guam but into the Sea of Japan.

North Korea's last test of a ballistic missile was on Sept. 15, an intermediate-range KN-17 that flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The Trump administration has said all military options remain on the table when dealing with the North Korean threat, but top U.S. officials have consistently emphasized the U.S. is pursuing a diplomatically led effort, including additional economic pressure.

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