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North Korea tests suspected ICBM, splashes down near Japan

North Korea tests suspected ICBM, splashes down near Japan
From Reuters - November 28, 2017

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea fired what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed close to Japan, officials said, with some scientists cautioning that Washington, D.C. could now theoretically be within range of Pyongyangs weapons.

North Korea fired the missile, its first launch since mid-September, a week after U.S. President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a U.S. list of countries it says support terrorism.

The designation allows the United States to impose more sanctions, although some experts said it risked inflaming tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests under its leader, Kim Jong Un, in defiance of U.N. sanctions. Trump has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States.

The South Korean military said the missile, fired on a steep trajectory, reached an altitude of around 4,500 km (2,800 miles) and flew 960 km (600 miles) before landing in Japans exclusive economic zone.

It went higher frankly than any previous shot theyve taken, a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically,U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke by phone and agreed to boost deterrence capability against North Korea, Yasutoshi Nishimura, deputy chief cabinet secretary, told reporters in Tokyo.

It is a situation that we will handle, Trump told reporters at the White House, speaking about the latest test.

Trump, who was briefed on the missile while it was in flight, said it did not change his administrations approach to North Korea, which has included new curbs to hurt trade between China and North Korea.

ALL OPTIONS

Washington has said repeatedly that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea, but that it prefers a peaceful solution by Pyongyang agreeing to give up its weapons programs.

Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea.

Other than carrying out existing U.N. sanctions, the international community must take additional measures to enhance maritime security, including the right to interdict maritime traffic traveling to North Korea, Tillerson said in a statement.

The U.N. Security Council was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss North Koreas latest missile launch. North Korea has given no indication it is willing to give up its weapons programs and re-enter diplomatic talks.

The Pentagon said its initial assessment was that an ICBM was launched from Sain Ni in North Korea and traveled about 1,000 km (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. The missile did not pose a threat to the United States, its territories or allies, the Pentagon said.

U.S. EAST COAST IN RANGE?

Japanese officials said the missile flew for 53 minutes and broke up before landing in Japans exclusive economic zone. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said it was judged to be ICBM class given its lofted trajectory.

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