North Korea claims first intercontinental ballistic missile launch

SKY NEWS, 4 July 2017

An expert says the missile could be powerful enough to reach Alaska, and it comes as the US prepares to mark its independence day.

North Korea claims to have successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) – contradicting US and South Korean officials who earlier said it was an intermediate-range missile.

The latest in a series of test-firings appears to be the secretive state’s longest-range ballistic missile launch to date.

If confirmed as an ICBM, it would be considered a game-changer by countries looking to check North Korea’s attempts to build a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the United States.

It is believed to have taken place from Pyongyang’s North Phyongan province and flew 930km (580 miles) for about 40 minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said: “We assume it a medium long-range ballistic missile. But we still plan to devise necessary measures assuming it may have been an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile).
“If it is ICBM, we will need to come up with the corresponding measures.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in. (Credit: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

He added Seoul would continue to “resolutely deal with North Korean provocations in close co-operation with the international community while maintaining a strong defence with the (South) Korea-US joint forces, based on the strong Korea-US alliance”.

US President Donald Trump responded on Twitter: “North Korea has just launched another missile. 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 also called for China and Russia to take more “constructive measures” to address this issue.

Earlier this week, North Korea was a key topic in phone calls between Mr Trump and the leaders of China and Japan.

The reclusive nation has continued with its programme despite painful UN and unilateral sanctions – and described such punishment as an infringement of its right to self-defence.

Pyongyang maintains nuclear weapons are necessary to counter US aggression, but America denies it has any intention to attack the North.

 

 

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