North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that Japanese officials said was capable of striking the entire continental United States.
Both South Korean and Japanese officials reported the launch after the rocket touched down 200 kilometers (124 miles) off the coast of Japan on Friday.
It was fired a day after the North Korean mission smaller missile launch As it warned that U.S. plans to beef up its security presence in the region would lead to a “heavier military response,” it said Washington was taking “a gamble it will regret.”
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris held an emergency meeting with the leaders of Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada and New Zealand on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Thailand following Friday’s latest missile test.
“We strongly condemn these actions, and we reiterate our call on North Korea to cease further illegal, destabilizing actions,” she said.
“On behalf of the United States, I reaffirm our strong commitment to the Indo-Pacific alliance. Those present will continue to urge North Korea to commit to serious and sustained diplomacy.”
South Korea’s defense ministry said the United States and South Korea held a joint air force drill using F-35A fighter jets in response to Friday’s missile test.
Missile Could Hit Entire Continental U.S.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Korean Around 10.15am in the National Capital Region, the weapon was flown across the country towards the north east coast.
Japan said it appeared to be flying in a high orbit and landed west of the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Estimates from South Korea and Japan say the missile traveled about 6,000-6,100 kilometers (3,600-3,790 miles), with a maximum altitude of 1,00 kilometers (620 miles).
Japanese Defense Minister Koichi Hamada told reporters that the altitude indicated that the missile was fired at a high angle and that, based on the weight of the warhead, the weapon had a range of more than 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles), “in which case it could cover the entire continental U.S. state “.
It was North Korea’s eighth ICBM test in 2022, according to the U.S. State Department.
The launch capped a record-breaking year for North Korea’s missile program after it resumed testing intercontinental ballistic missiles for the first time since 2017 and broke a ban on long-range launches that had been self-suspended as denuclearization talks stalled.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned of further missile launches and possible nuclear tests by North Korea.