Kim Jong Un claimed on Wednesday that North Korea had successfully test-launched its most advanced missile yet; an intercontinental ballistic missile it claims can reach the “whole” U.S. mainland.
North Korea’s two-month weapons-testing lull was broken by the dramatic launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which is “the most powerful [intercontinental ballistic missile],” carrying a “super-large heavy warhead” to unprecedented heights of nearly 2,800 miles (4,500 kilometers), according to state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
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U.S. President Donald Trump opted for more calculated response to the latest missile launch. (In the past, he threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on the rogue nation.) On Tuesday, he told reporters: “We will take care of that situation,” according to Bloomberg. The United Nations Security Council, responsible for imposing strict sanctions on North Korea earlier this year, plans to discuss the latest test in New York on Wednesday.
The missile was launched early Wednesday morning local time and reached an altitude of 2,781 miles—more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station—before finally splashing down 53 minutes later in the Sea of Japan, within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in by phone, reports Bloomberg. South Korea’s military reportedly staged its own missile exercise minutes after North Korea’s launch, which U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said “made certain that North Korea understands they could be taken under fire by our ally.”
Mattis also said that the missile flew higher than any previous North Korean launch, underscoring the act as a “continued effort to build a threat—a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace and certainly the United States.”