North Korea claimed that they have reached the “final step” in creating a “powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth” following the successful test of its first intercontinental ballistic missile in a launch Tuesday.
Although it will be difficult to confirm details of the launch, U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials have determined that North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile into waters off the coast of Japan. Such missiles are capable of traveling nearly 3,500 miles, placing U.S. forces on the island of Guam within their range.
“We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment,” U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement. “We continue to monitor North Korea’s actions closely.”
Tuesday’s launch is reportedly North Korea’s most successful missile test yet. According to Reuters, state media said that the launch was ordered and supervised by dictator Kim Jong Un.
U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials said that the missile flew for approximately 40 minutes, reaching an altitude of 1,500 miles—longer and higher than any similar North Korean test—breaking the previous record of 30 minutes set on May 14.
The Associated Press reported that a U.S. scientist examining the dynamics of the launch contended that the missile could potentially have the power to reach Alaska.
President Trump immediately responded to the launch via Twitter.
“North Korea has just launched another missile,” Trump tweeted. “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? 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!”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe soundly condemned North Korea for the launch. “The latest launch clearly showed that the threat is growing,” Abe said.
Abe, who spoke by phone with Trump on Monday, said the two leaders plan to seek cooperation from world leaders during the upcoming G-20 summit in Germany.
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