An initial assessment shows that North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) today that flew for more than 40 minutes, traveling 620 miles horizontally into the Sea of Japan, a U.S. official said.
Assessments of the launch, which was detected at about 10:41 a.m. ET (11:41 p.m. local time), are continuing.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement, “The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.”
Davis added that the first U.S. confirmation of the launch occurred while the missile was still in flight.
The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni, an arms plant in the far north of North Korea, and traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, Davis said. The landing was inside of Japan’s Economic Exclusion Zone, about 88 nautical miles west of Hokkaido. Davis said the missile was in the air for at least 40 minutes.
“Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad. We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation,” Davis said.
Following today’s missile launch, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Adm. Harry Harris of the U.S. Pacific Command called South Korea’s top military officer to express their iron-clad commitments to the U.S.-South Korean security alliance and to discuss military response options, David said.
Today’s ballistic missile launch is North Korea’s 11th ballistic missile test this year and the first since North Korea launched an historic ICBM on July 4, an action U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said represented “a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region and the world.”
That ICBM flew at a trajectory of 1,730 miles above Earth for 37 minutes before crashing into…