Latest North Korean ballistic missile could reach all parts of US mainland

North Korea says its latest launch of a ballistic missile shows it can reach “all parts of the US mainland”, reported

North Korea state TV today confirmed the launch of the missile, that was detected by the US, Japanese and South Korean military this morning.

In the television address at 2.30 pm AEDT the launch was declared a success by the state Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has labelled “a criminal nation”.

Reuters reported North Korea said the missile was a new type of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile named the Hwasong-15.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally authorised the launch of the missile.

Despite the latest escalation, North Korea said in the television address it would not threaten any country as long as it was not threatened.

The test was North Korea’s most successful intercontinental ballistic missile test yet.

About 3 am local time, the ICBM was launched on a steep trajectory before crashing back to Earth 960 km away in the Sea of Japan, 210 km from the Japanese coast.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency says that during its 53 minutes flight time, the missile soared some 4500 km into space — that’s 10 times higher than the orbit of the International Space Station.

Defense analysts say this demonstrates it has the power and range of a fully functional ICBM capable of travelling more than 10,000km - putting all of the United States mainland and most of the world within its reach.

The UN Security Council will hold an urgent meeting tomorrow to discuss the implications of the launch.

President Donald Trump has sent a tough message to North Korea after its latest ballistic missile test, the first since the US leader put Pyongyang back on the blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.

“We will take care of it,” Trump said in remarks at the White House after the test, which the Pentagon confirmed was an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

Trump told reporters that “it is a situation that we will handle.”

Press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Trump “was briefed, while missile was still in the air, on the situation in North Korea.”

The US Pentagon has released a statement saying: “Initial assessment indicates that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) ... We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment of the launch.”

US Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis has reportedly told media the test demonstrates North Korea “can threaten everywhere in the world basically ... it went higher, frankly than any previous shot they’ve taken”

This is the third successful ICBM launch North Korea has conducted.

Defense analysts speculate it is likely to have been a Hwasong-14 model missile with a simulated 100 kg payload.

Co-director and senior scientist of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) David Wright says that, based on reported missile flight times and distances for today’s launch, the missile could have a standard trajectory range of more than 13,000km.

“This is significantly longer than North Korea’s previous long range tests, which flew on lofted trajectories for 37 minutes on July 4 and 47 minutes from July 28,” Wright wrote. “Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, DC, and in fact any part of the continental United States.”

The test missile was fired on a high trajectory — taking it far further into space than necessary, before it crashed down 960 km away.

Whether this is an accurate demonstration of the missile’s operational range is unknown: A nuclear warhead is likely to be heavier than the test device, reducing its reach.

North Korea is also yet to demonstrate it has perfected the technology necessary for a reentry vehicle carrying a warhead to survive the rigors of atmospheric re-entry.

The Australian Government has condemned the latest test amid fears North Korea’s nuclear and missile capacity is growing faster than expected.

But Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says sanctions must be given time to take effect so there can be a peaceful resolution.

“The Australian Government condemns in the strongest possible terms North Korea’s continued violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Ms Bishop told reporters in Canberra this morning.

“We call on the North Korean regime to abandon its illegal programs and focus on the plight of the long-suffering North Korean people.”

Australia shared America’s concern about how fast Pyongyang’s missiles appeared to be improving, Ms Bishop said.

“Each and every test that North Korea carries out deepens our concern because it’s an opportunity to improve its capability,” she told reporters.

“North Korea is threat to its neighbors, it is a threat to the region, and it is a global security risk.”

Major sanctions on North Korea had only just been imposed and some would not take effect until next year, she said.

“I believe the sanctions must be given time to take effect,” she said.

The Minister has, this week, imposed sanctions on another nine North Korean individuals and 11 entities associated with the illegal weapons programs as part of an ongoing bid to bring it back to the negotiating table.

US Department of State Secretary Rex Tillerson has released a statement condemning the ICBM launch.

“The DPRK’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them must be reversed. Together the international community must continue to send a unified message to North Korea that the DPRK must abandon its WMD programs. All nations must continue strong economic and diplomatic measures.”

He said he wanted new measures introduced — including the power to “interdict marine traffic transporting goods to and from the DPRK”.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on the international community to take “additional measures” beyond existing sanctions to enhance maritime security, including the right to intercept vessels transporting goods to and from North Korea.

“Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now. The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea,” Tillerson said in a statement

Japan’s UN Ambassador Koro Bessho says the government has told the North Koreans “that we criticize their behavior in the strongest terms possible” following a new missile launch.

He told reporters Tuesday at UN headquarters that “we are very concerned and we have condemned them publicly.”

Japan has since requested an emergency hearing of the UN Security Council.

UN Security Council President Sebastiano Cardi earlier said he had been in contact with key UN members. Cardi said he was scheduled to brief the Security Council later today.

Japan’s chief Cabinet secretary says the missile might have landed inside the country’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan.

Cardi says if it fell in that zone, it would be an “even greater” danger.

Japan’s chief Cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga says s repeated provocation by the North is unacceptable.

“We presume that it fell within our EEZ,” the country’s defence minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters.

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