SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea fired a missile on Friday that experts said was capable of reaching cities in the United States and U.S. and South Korean military officials responded by discussing military options.
The unusual late-night launch added to exasperation in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo over North Korea’s continuing development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to deliver them. North Korean President Kim Jong Un’s military raised alarms early this month with an ICBM launch.
“As a result of their launches of ICBM-level missiles, this clearly shows the threat to our nation’s safety is severe and real,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who planned to call a meeting of his National Security Council.
Following a meeting of South Korea’s National Security Council, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he wanted the U.N. Security Council to discuss new and stronger sanctions against the North, the presidential Blue House said.
Moon also ordered discussions to be held with the United States on deploying additional THAAD anti-missile defense units, his office said.
The top U.S. military official, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, spoke by phone with his South Korean counterpart, General Lee Sun-jin, to discuss military response options to the launch. Dunford and Admiral Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command who was also on the call, reinforced the U.S. commitment to the alliance with South Korea.
The launch from North Korea’s northern Jangang province took place at 11:41 p.m. (1441 GMT), an official at South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile flew for about 45 minutes before apparently landing in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
First footage of North Korea's Hwasong-14 ICBM launch Friday pic.twitter.com/7d6HMP3ifr
— Mikael Thalen (@MikaelThalen) July 29, 2017