North Korea’s latest rocket launch was of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Pentagonhas confirmed.
“We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said. “The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni and traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. We are working with our inter-agency partners on a more detailed assessment”, he added.
The apogee was reportedly around 3000 km and the flight time was 45 minutes. This would give the missile a theoretical maximum operating range of around 10,000 kms.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told that the missile may have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
This marks the second time Pyongyang has fired an ICBM. In early July, Pyongyang claimed to have successfully tested Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time. That test was the latest in a series conducted in defiance of a UN ban.
The US believes that North Korea will be able to launch a reliable nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by early 2018, a US official familiar with the latest intelligence assessment confirmed to CNN on Wednesday. That would be an acceleration of two years from previous estimates that put Pyongyang three to five years from fully developing long-range missile capabilities.
The official clarified that while North Korea can currently get a missile “off the ground,” there are still a lot of undetermined variables about guidance, re-entry and the ability to hit a specific target.