North Korea claims to have conducted its first successful test of a long-range missile that it says can “reach anywhere in the world.”
Tuesday morning’s missile test reached a height of 2,802 kilometers (1,741 miles), according to state broadcaster Korea Central Television, which would be the highest altitude a North Korean missile had ever reached.
The country claimed it was an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, which would put the United States on notice that Pyongyang could potentially hit the US mainland.
US military analysts believe it probably was a two-stage ICBM, said a US official with knowledge of the Americans’ analysis.
North Korea appears to have timed the launch for maximum political effect, giving the order to fire on the eve of the July Fourth holiday, just days after President Donald Trump spoke with Japanese and Chinese leaders about the North Korean threat and before this week’s G20 meeting.
The fear is that North Korea may one day develop the technology to mount a miniature nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, something analysts say it may have already achieved.
Trump’s reaction to the launch was scathing. “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” Trump asked on Twitter, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“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!”