test launched another ballistic missile that plunged into the sea off its eastern coast ahead of Fourth of July revelry in the U.S., officials said.
U.S. Pacific Command identified the projectile as an intermediate range ballistic missile, which launched near the Panghyon Airfield on the western coast. It cruised for nearly 40 minutes and for at least 580 miles before crashing offshore in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to Japanese news reports and officials.
There was no immediate reports of damage to ships or aircraft in the zone.
North Korea celebrated the launch with a televised announcement from retired broadcaster Ri Chun-hee, hailing the test as a successful Hwasong-14 ordered by Kim Jong Un. The vigorous remarks were preceded by several minutes of sweeping music and a montage of propaganda videos. Pyongyang claims it was an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The North’s state-run news agency has boasted that the Hwasong missile could be equipped with a nuclear warhead.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, second from the right, speaks to the media at his residence in Tokyo following North Korea’s missile launch.
(KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
The test launch comes as world leaders prepare for the Group of 20 in Germany later this week. On Sunday, President Trump discussed the North’s growing nuclear threat in calls to China and Japan in separate phone calls.
Trump acknowledged the launch in a Twitter dispatch after returning to the White House from his New Jersey vacation late Monday.
“North Korea has just launched another missile,” Trump said, then referring to Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?”
“Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all,” he added, in another attempt to pressure China into handling the isolated nation.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is surrounded by soldiers of the Korean People’s Army as he inspects the test-launch of a surface-to-surface ballistic missile in February.
After the tweets, the White House issued a statement late Monday that the President had been briefed on the launch.
It Was Reported By The New York Times that in Trump’s phone call with Xi on Sunday, he warned Beijing that he would act independently on Pyongyang. The President is slated to meet Xi again at the G20 meetup this week in Germany.
The North last launched a missile on June 8, threatening that it could strike U.S. soil and South Korean warships.