US considers ‘military response’ after North Korea tests missile and boasts all of America is now within range

The United States was considering “military response options” on Friday night after North Korea carried out its second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in a month, with Pyongyang claiming the whole of the US was within range.

The Pentagon confirmed that the missile, which flew for 45 minutes, travelled an estimated 600 miles and landed west of Japan’s Hokkaido island, was an ICBM. It flew for six minutes longer than the previous one, on July 4.

“The test-fire reconfirmed the reliability of the ICBM system, demonstrated the capability of making a surprise launch of the ICBM in any region and place any time, and clearly proved that the whole U.S. mainland is in the firing range of the DPRK (North Korea) ,” KCNA, Pyongyang’s official news agency, said.

Washington,  which has branded North Korea the “most urgent and dangerous threat to peace,” condemned the launch as reckless. 

Graphic: North Korea missile launch

“By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,”  Donald Trump said in a statement.

“The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”

As Pyongyang confirmed the launch, South Korea said it was ready to take its own steps to deal with the threat.

Song Young-moo, South Korea’s defence minister,   said Seoul would prepare independent measures.

“Along with joint efforts to deter proliferation (of North Korea’s nuclear threat) we will prepare independent measure to curb it as soon as possible,” Song told a press conference in Seoul, just minutes after Pyongyang said its second missile test was meant as a “stern warning” for the United States.

The launch was also condemned by the Chinese foreign ministry.

Kim Jong Un waves at parade participants at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang Credit:  Wong Maye-E

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