Japan asserts that North Korea’s most recent long-range missile could have reached the U.S. mainland.

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FILE PHOTO: Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada speaks to reporters about North Korea’s firing of ballistic missiles, in Tokyo, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo November 3, 2022. Kyodo via REUTERS
  • North Korea has fired one of the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles it has ever launched with the latest having the potential trajectory to strike the mainland of the United States.
  • North Korea, which has launched at least 88 ballistic and other missiles this year

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, the regime of Kim Jong Un’s second missile test in two days. Japan stated that it has the potential range to reach the continental United States.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that the ICBM was launched around 10:15 a.m. local time from the Sunan neighborhood of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and traveled approximately 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) east. The United States described it as a “brazen” breach of United Nations resolutions.

According to the Japan Coast Guard, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that it likely fell within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), approximately 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of the Japanese island of Oshima Oshima. It never flew over Japan.

“North Korea continues to conduct provocative actions at an unprecedented rate,” Kishida told reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday. I like to reiterate that such conduct is unacceptable.

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He stated that the Japanese government will continue to collect and analyze data and provide timely updates to the public. Kishida added that there have been no reports of damage to vessels at sea.

The ICBM reached an altitude of approximately 6,100 kilometers (3,790 miles) at Mach 22, or 22 times the speed of sound, according to the JCS, which stated that intelligence authorities in South Korea and the United States were analyzing the details.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada stated that it was capable of reaching the United States’ mainland. “Based on the flight distance of this ICBM, the range of the ICBM-class ballistic missile launched this time could exceed 15,000 kilometers,” Hamada said in a statement. Depending on the weight of the warhead, the continental United States would be within the range.

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It is not the first time that North Korea has launched an ICBM that, according to experts and government officials, could theoretically reach the United States.

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Pyongyang’s missile test on March 24 recorded the highest altitude and longest duration of any North Korean missile ever tested, according to a report by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) at the time. The distance and altitude of Pyongyang’s missile test on Friday were approximately 100 kilometers shorter. According to KCNA, this missile achieved an altitude of 6,248.5 kilometers (3,905 miles) and traveled 1,090 kilometers (681 miles).

And in 2017, former US Defense Secretary James Mattis stated that a North Korean missile launch revealed the country’s potential to strike “anything in the world.”

Friday morning, US Vice President Kamala Harris gathered with leaders from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada on the sidelines of the APEC conference to condemn the launch in an impromptu media event.

She stated, “I have urged this collection of allies and partners to join us in denouncing North Korea’s launch of a long-range ballistic missile.” “I’ve also requested them participation so that we may confer on next moves as allies and partners. Recent North Korean behavior is a flagrant violation of many UN Security Council resolutions. It destabilizes regional security and unnecessarily escalates tensions.”

A senior administration official labeled the missile as “additional escalation” due to its extended range and ability to reach the United States’ mainland.

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