NKorea launches ICBM in possibly its longest-range test yet
North Korea abruptly ended a 10-week pause in its weapons testing Tuesday by launching an unidentified missile into the Sea of Japan, South Korean, Japanese and U.S. officials said, in a move that shuts the door for now on the possibility of a diplomatic opening.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said the missile was launched from Sain Ni, North Korea, and traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan within 370 nautical kilometers (200 nautical miles) of Japan's coast. It flew for 53 minutes, Japan's defense minister said, making it possibly the nation's the longest-range test yet.
South Korea, a key U.S. ally separated from the North by a highly militarized border, responded with shorter-range missile tests of its own to mimic striking the North Korea launch site, which it said lies not far from the North Korean capital.
The launch is North Korea's first since it fired an intermediate range missile over Japan on Sept. 15, and appeared to shatter chances that the hiatus could lead to renewed diplomacy over the reclusive country's nuclear program. U.S. officials have sporadically floated the idea of direct talks with North Korea if it maintained restraint.
A week ago, the Trump administration declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, further straining ties between governments that are still technically at war. Washington also imposed new sanctions on North Korean shipping firms and Chinese trading companies dealing with the North.
North Korea called the terror designation a "serious provocation" that justifies its development of nuclear weapons.
Early Wednesday in Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga echoed the claims from Seoul that North Korea fired an unidentified missile. He said it landed in the Sea of Japan, possibly within 200 nautical miles of the Japanese coast. He called the provocation unacceptable and said Tokyo has filed a strong protest.
The Pentagon's initial response was to call it a "probable" missile launch.
Col. Rob Manning, a spokesman said, "We detected a probable missile launch from North Korea" at approximately 1:30 p.m. EST. He said the Pentagon is assessing the situation and has no further information to provide, including what kind of missile may have been launched.
President Donald Trump was briefed on the launch while the missile was still in the air, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Asked about the launch while leaving a meeting on Capitol Hill, Trump told reporters: "We'll be talking about it."
How far the missile has traveled is not yet known.
Guam is reportedly safe; the country's Homeland Security officials posted to Facebook that they were notified of the launch, but there is no immediate threat to them.
Last week, the U.S. announced new sanctions against North Korean and some Chinese entities, one day after declaring the nation a state sponsor of terrorism.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.