North Korea boasted a successful intercontinental ballistic missile test from its eastern coast ahead of Fourth of July revelry in the United States.
The nation’s bold claims Tuesday contradicted prior dispatches from South Korea’s military and the U.S. Pacific Command underestimating the test as an intermediate-range missile.
The missile took off from the North’s Panghyon Airfield around 9:40 a.m. and cruised for at least 580 miles before plunging into the Sea of Japan nearly 40 minutes later.
Japanese reports said it crashed offshore in the country’s exclusive economic zone. There was no immediate reports of damage to ships or aircraft in the zone.
North Korea celebrated the launch with a televised announcement from retired broadcaster Ri Chun-hee, hailing the test as a successful Hwasong-14 ordered by Kim Jong Un. Her vigorous remarks, while wearing a traditional pink hanbok, were preceded by several minutes of sweeping music and a montage of propaganda videos. Pyongyang claims it was an intercontinental ballistic missile that reached an altitude of 1,741 miles.
One weapons analyst said such a missile could potentially reach Alaska.
The North’s state-run news agency has previously said their Hwasong-type missiles could be equipped with nuclear warhead.
The test launch comes as world leaders prepare for the Group of 20 in Germany later this week.
On Sunday, President Trump discussed the North’s growing nuclear threat in calls to China and Japan in separate phone calls.
Trump acknowledged the launch in a Twitter dispatch after returning to the White House from his New Jersey vacation late Monday.
“North Korea has just launched another missile,” Trump said, then referring to Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. “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,” he added, in another attempt to pressure China into handling the isolated nation.
After the tweets, the White House issued a statement late Monday that the President had been briefed on the launch.
The New York Times reports that in Trump’s phone call with Xi on Sunday, he warned Beijing that he would act independently on Pyongyang.
The North last launched a missile on June 8, threatening that it could strike U.S. soil and South Korean warships.
With News Wire Services
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