5 p.m. EDT Update: The White House remains absolutely silent about the missile test. Meanwhile, strangely, so has North Korea. In the meantime, U.S. Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, spokesman for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, issued the following statement:
"Subsequent to the North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch today, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., and Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris called the Republic of Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Lee Sun Jin. During the call Dunford and Harris expressed the ironclad commitment to the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance. The three leaders also discussed military response options. Harris joined Dunford in his Pentagon office to make the phone call."
No technical data has been released by either the Defense of State departments. But, based on the estimated data supplied by non-governmental observers, these major U.S. cities could be targeted by the North Korean missiles:
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Washington, D.C. (possibly)
3 p.m. EDT Update: Russia insists it wasn't an ICBM test. In an official statement published by state-owned media, the Russian Ministry of Defense says the missile had a range of 732 km (455 mi.) and apogee of 681 km (423 mi.). Interestingly, despite the very specific parabolic data, the statement doesn't include a flight time.
The Russian government denied the July 4 test was an ICBM as well, triggering a heated exchange at the United Nations Security Council between their ambassador and U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. This also suggests it's highly unlikely Russia will allow any new sanctions package to clear the UNSC, leaving the U.S. and its allies to effectively "go it alone" in response to the latest provocation.
2:30 p.m. EDT Update: South Korean President Moon Jae-in has announced additional THAAD launching systems will be placed at the U.S. Forces Korea in Seoul. THAAD is not designed to deal with ICBMs, suggesting perhaps South Korea is preparing for potential conventional attacks from its northern neighbor.
2:15 p.m. EDT Update: President Donald Trump, while addressing law enforcement and his plans to eradicate the MS-13 drug cartel at a speech on Long Island, noted that U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley had traveled from Turtle Bay, suggesting they have discussed the North Korean launch.
1:45 p.m. EDT Update: Statement from Pentagon spokesman U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis:
"The U.S. Department of Defense detected and tracked a single North Korea missile launch today at about 10:41 a.m. EDT. We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected.
"The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni and traveled about 1,000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment.
"The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.
"Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad. We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation."
Meanwhile, the South Korean government is stating they believe the missile launched by North Korea was "more advanced" than the missile tested July 4. Still no word from North Korean state media.
1:30 p.m. EDT Update: Here's a comparison of the July 4 launch data compared to the preliminary data released by non-governmental weapons experts so far:
July 4 — range 933 km, apogee 2802 km, flight time 43 min.
Today — range 1,000 km, apogee 3,700 km, flight time 47 min.
1:15 p.m. EDT Update: South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called an emergency meeting of the country's National Security Council for Saturday morning in Seoul.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Cheng shared this on Twitter:
Good time to roll out this graphic: If this missile can fly 10,000 km, it'd put most of the U.S. homeland in range. https://t.co/guuT73YJwW— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) July 28, 2017
Some non-governmental weapons experts are now suggesting the apogee (maximum altitude) of the North Korean missile may have been 3,700 km (2,300 mi), which could substantially increase the potential effective range of the missile.
1 p.m. EDT Update: The United Nations Security Council has met, and following the meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strongly condemned the test launch.
North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency has not yet reported on the launch. New preliminary data shows the missile reached an altitude of 3,000 km (1,800 mi.); which is 2,800 km higher than the July 4 test. It was launched from the northern part of the country, near the Chinese border, and flew approximately 1,000 km (620 mi.) down range into the Sea of Japan.
This is the 14th missile test this year. Kim Jong-un's father, Kim Jong-il only made 16 test launches during his 17 years as the North Korean leader.
12:45 p.m. EDT Update: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has requested an immediate emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss this latest launch. The U.S. has not responded beyond confirming the launch and announcing the Department of Defense is analyzing the data. Another expert noted the 10,000 km range of the missile could potentially reach Israel.
12:30 p.m. EDT Update: U.S. officials have confirmed the North Korean missile launch, but have not published any data regarding the launch.
Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis, based on preliminary data he has seen, stated the North Korean missile flew for approximately 45 minutes. This would give a range of 10,000 km (6,200 mi.), which means it could strike nearly all of the continental U.S. (the distance from Pyongyang to New York City is slightly more than 10,000 km).
Japanese officials are now saying the missile landed inside its Exclusive Economic Zone, not in its territorial waters, which is an important distinction. The EEZ extends for approximately 250 miles, while territorial waters are much closer to actual Japanese soil, and under International Law, would be considered sovereign territory of Japan.
Japanese media are now reporting that government officials have identified another missile launch from North Korea.
Government officials claim the missile could land inside Japanese territorial waters, which would be a dangerously major development in this ongoing diplomatic issue. That would also suggest, if this is the same type of missile launched July 4, that North Korea has extended that missile—designated the Hwasong-14 by the North Korean government—potentially making it capable of reaching the continental U.S.
We will continue to update as new information is provided.
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