North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile on Tuesday morning, its 11th missile test this year.
South Korea has confirmed the launch occurred from north Pyongan province, on North Korea’s northwest coast, with the missile flying into the sea off its east coast. Reuters reports that the missile flew for about 40 minutes and may have landed in Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone.
The launch site was the same as that of the test of the medium long-range Pukguksong-2 ballistic missile in February and of a rocket launch last year.
North Korea has claimed the test was a successful test-launch of a first intercontinental ballistic missile, with Reuters reports analysts saying it could put all of the U.S. state of Alaska in range for the first time.
North Korea has said it is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland, something U.S. President Donald Trump vowed in January would never happen.
Trump called on China to end “this nonsense” in a Twitter feed.
Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State, has issued a statement saying: “The United States strongly condemns North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region and the world.
“Global action is required to stop a global threat. Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits or fails to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime. All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons. We intend to bring North Korea's provocative action before the U.N. Security Council and enact stronger measures to hold the DPRK accountable.
“The United States seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the end of threatening actions by North Korea. As we, along with others, have made clear, we will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.”
The launch occurred a day before U.S. Independence Day celebrations. North Korea has previously fired missiles around this U.S. holiday. U.S., Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders are expected to discuss efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear and missile tests at the G20 summit on July 7 to 8.
North Korea launched multiple missiles towards the Sea of Japan in June. The nation has conducted five nuclear tests and a growing number of missile launches and is believed to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles capable of reaching the U.S. In April this year, North Korea threatened massive nuclear retaliation in response to any provocation by U.S. forces, promising that it will "not miss a chance to sweep the imperialist group with a nuclear fire of justice.”