TOKYO — North Korea has taken another step toward achieving its stated goal of being able to send a nuclear weapon to the U.S. mainland, apparently firing another ballistic missile late Friday.
It was not immediately clear whether the missile was capable of reaching the continental United States. But the fact that it flew for 45 minutes and reached a height of some 1,900 miles suggested it had an even longer range than the intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea launched on July 4, analysts said.
This latest provocation compounds the problem facing the Trump administration and North Korea’s neighbors: how to stop the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from making progress with its nuclear weapons program.
The Pentagon and South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff both said they had detected the launch, which occurred Friday at about 11:11 p.m. North Korea time(10:41 a.m. Eastern time). The late-night launch was unusual as North Korea usually fires missiles soon after dawn.
“I can confirm that we detected a launch of a ballistic missile from North Korea. We are assessing and will have more information soon,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Friday.
The missile was launched from Jagang province in northwestern North Korea, near the border with China, South Korea’s joint chiefs said. President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency national security meeting.