North Korea has confirmed that it has “successfully” test fired a second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and described it as a “stern warning” to the US, the media reported on Saturday. A combination of US, South Korean and Japanese analyses of Friday’s launch from Mupyong-ni, near North Korea‘s border with China, showed the missile flew about 47 minutes, going 3,700 km high and for a distance of 1,000 km before falling into the Sea of Japan, reports CNN.
If the missile were fired on a flatter, standard trajectory, it would have major US cities like Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago well within its range, with possibly the ability to reach as far as New York and Boston.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Saturday that the latest ICBM is more advanced than one launched earlier this month based on the range it travelled. Experts had said that test showed Pyongyang had the ability to hit Alaska.
A statement from Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency on Saturday said in a statement that the latest missile launch was a Hwasong-14, the same missile tested earlier in the month.
Friday’s test was designed to show the Hwasong-14’s maximum range with a “large-sized heavy nuclear warhead”, the statement said.
It said Washington should regard the launch as a “grave warning”.
US President Donald Trump condemned the launch and said: “Threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people.
“The US will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in in an emergency meeting on Saturday called for a “stern response” and warned that the latest test could bring about a fundamental change in the security landscape of the region.
He also asked his administration to study the possibility of imposing “strong and effective measures” and unilateral sanctions on North Korea “if necessary”.
Pyongyang has carried out 12 missile tests since February and conducted its first-ever test of an ICBM on July 4 — which it claims could reach “anywhere in the world”, CNN reported.
Less than six years into his reign, Kim Jong-un has tested more missiles than his father and grandfather combined, according to military experts.