North Korea fires ICBM into Japanese waters
North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the middle of the night local time Wednesday, the first such launch from the rogue regime in more than two months, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News.
The missile, believed to be an ICBM by the Pentagon based on initial assessments, was launched from Sain Ni in North Korea and flew roughly 620 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, which first reported the launch, said the missile launch happened around 3 a.m. in North Korea. South Korea’s military had reportedly staged a “precision strike” missile exercise in response.
North Korea has been working hard to perfect “re-entry” technology to one day have a warhead be able to survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
It was determined by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) that the missile “did not pose a threat to North America, our territories or our allies,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning III told Fox News.
Manning, in an earlier statement, said: “We are in the process of assessing the situation, and we will be providing additional details when available.”
The ICBM flew nearly 2,800 miles into space, according to Yonhap. NASA’s International Space Station only orbits the Earth from 250 miles into space.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted President Trump was briefed on the North Korean missile launch “while it was still in the air.”
Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office for disaster and crisis management information tweeted shortly after the report: “North Korea launched a missile that has the possibility of arriving in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of our country,” according to a translation. NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, cited its defense military saying the missile may have landed in Japan’s EEZ, where it has jurisdiction on marine resources.
This is the first missile launch since North Korea fired an intermediate-range KN-17 on Sept. 15 that flew over Japan’s Hokkaido Island before splashing into the Pacific Ocean. There have been signs indicating Kim Jong Un’s regime was planning a missile launch in recent days. Japan’s Kyodo News reported Monday the Japanese government detected radio signals pointing to a possible missile test in the near future. However, satellite images did not show a missile or movable launch pad.
North Korea’s Sept. 15 missile launch flew 2,300 miles out, putting the U.S. island territory of Guam within its range. Kim previously threatened to strike the island with four medium-range ballistic missiles in August, but ultimately stepped away from the plan.
North Korea’s lull in missile launches made October the only month a test wasn’t conducted since the start of the year. Between February and September, the regime tested a missile an average of every two weeks. This is also the first provocation since Trump designated North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism.
South Korean unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon told foreign correspondents in Seoul on Tuesday that North Korea is on the verge of achieving full nuclear capability with an intercontinental ballistic missile that could carry a nuclear warhead, according to Yonhap News Agency.
“North Korea has been developing its nuclear weapons at a faster-than-expected pace. We cannot rule out the possibility that North Korea could announce its completion of a clear force within one year,” Cho said.
Hawaii officials announced Wednesday the beginning of monthly siren tests, starting Friday. The tests would be conducted to prepare islanders for a possible nuclear missile attack by North Korea. The tests would be the first since the Cold War.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.