US, Japan detect missile launch from North Korea, Pentagon claims 1000-km range
North Korea fired a ballistic missile Friday night which flew longer than any of its previous missiles and landed in the ocean off Japan, according to officials from Japan, South Korea and the United States.
“We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.
“The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni and traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment.”
Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the missile launched Friday flew for about 45 minutes — about five minutes longer than the ICBM on July 4 — and landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido.
Suga said officials are analyzing whether it was an ICBM. He said Japan has lodged a strong protest with North Korea over the launch.
“North Korea’s repeated provocative acts absolutely cannot be accepted,” he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday that in the wake of North Korea’s latest missile launch, just before midnight, there was no avoiding increasing pressure on the reclusive state.
The missile launch came just after Japan had announced it would increase its sanctions on North Korea.
Abe said the missile launch, a rare late night launch, clearly showed the threat that North Korea poses to Japan.