North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed near Japanese waters Friday in its second major weapons test this month that showed a potential ability to launch nuclear strikes on all of the US mainland, the AP reports. The United States quickly condemned the launch and vowed to take “all necessary measures” to guarantee the safety of its mainland and allies South Korea and Japan. Vice President Kamala Harris will separately meet with leaders of allies who are attending a regional forum in Bangkok to discuss the missile launch. “We strongly condemn these actions and we again call for North Korea to stop further unlawful, destabilizing acts. On behalf of the United States, I reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our Indo-Pacific alliances,” Harris said at the start of the meeting.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the ICBM launch from North Korea’s capital region around 10:15am and that the weapon flew toward the North’s eastern coast across the country. Japan said the ICBM appeared to have flown on a high trajectory and landed west of Hokkaido. According to South Korean and Japanese estimates, the North Korean missile flew about 3,600-3,790 miles at a maximum altitude of 620 miles. Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters the altitude suggests the missile was launched on a high angle. He said depending on the weight of a warhead to be placed on the missile, the weapon has a range exceeding 9,320 miles, “in which case it could cover the entire mainland United States.”
US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the launch “needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing” regional security while showing the North’s prioritizing of unlawful weapons programs over the well-being of its people. She said President Biden was briefed over the launch. “Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions and instead choose diplomatic engagement,” Watson said. Hamada, the Japanese defense minister, called the launch “a reckless act that threatens Japan as well as the region and the international community.” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launch “a grave provocation and serious threat” to undermine international and regional peace and security.
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