WASHINGTON — North KoreaFriday, one that could potentially hit the mainland U.S.
The rare late-night launch sent a ballistic missile into space. It remained airborne for more than 40 minutes, flying 1,000 kilometers due east before splashing into the Sea of Japan.
It was the second successful intercontinental ballistic missile test within the past month, and it flew longer and farther than any previous missile.
Pentagon intelligence analysts have been surprised by the fast technical advances made by North Korea’s weapons scientists.
Recent North Korean propaganda videos have featured the U.S. Capitol in flames. Analysts believe that the missile launched Friday had the range to hit Los Angeles, Chicago or even New York.
It is unclear how close North Korea is to being able to arm a missile with a nuclear warhead.
“They’ve been saying it for a long time. I think the difference is we’re coming to believe them,” said arms control analyst Jeffrey Lewis.
“We’re in a relationship where we can destroy them, and they can destroy us, and we may not like it but that’s where we are,” he said.
Late Friday, President Trump released a statement on the launch, which read in part, “By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people. The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”
The Pentagon said the launch did not pose an immediate threat to the U.S. but the missile came very close to U.S. ally Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called it a serious and real threat.
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford discussed military responses with his South Korean counterpart.
In a show of force, the U.S. and South Korean militaries staged a joint missile exercise in direct response to North Korea. It happened as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is still trying to…