- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed North Korea’s latest missile test was with an intercontinental ballistic missile
- The North revealed it had successfully built the intercontinental ballistic missile
- The 'landmark' test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-Un
- It was fired from a site in the North Phyongan province into the Sea of Japan
- It is believed to have reached an altitude of 1741 miles and flew 580 miles
- The North has long sought to build nuclear missiles capable of reaching the US
- Weapons analysts say the missile has the capability to reach as far as Alaska
- The U.S. has requested a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the launch - it will likely take place Wednesday
President Donald Trump called an emergency meeting on the Fourth of July to formulate a 'measured response' to North Korea's first intercontinental ballistic missile test, amid fears it could reach as far as Alaska.
North Korea declared Tuesday that it had finally achieved its dream of building an intercontinental ballistic missile, saying it would 'fundamentally put an end to the US nuclear war threat and blackmail'.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later confirmed the latest missile test was with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
And Tillerson says that’s a new escalation of the threat posed to the United States and the world by North Korea.
The launch, which came as the United States prepared to mark its Independence Day, triggered a Twitter outburst from Trump who urged China to 'put a heavy move' on North Korea to 'end this nonsense once and for all'.
US military and national security officials are now holding the unexpected meeting to determine if leader Kim Jong-un's claim his country fired an intercontinental missile is true, Trump administration sources told CNN.
The US has also requested a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council on North Korea's latest missile launch, a spokesman for the US mission to the United Nations says.
The spokesman said the meeting of the 15-member council was likely to be scheduled for Wednesday.
If data and intelligence proves the ICBM was launched, officials say Trump would potentially approve a 'measured response' to deal with North Korea.
Potential responses include sending additional troops to the region and possibly more sanctions.
North Korea has long sought to build a rocket capable of delivering an atomic warhead to the United States - something Trump has vowed 'won't happen'.
In an announcement of the missile test, North Korean officials called the launch, which leader Kim Jong-un supervised, a 'glistening miracle'.
The Hwasong-14 ICBM reached an altitude of about 1,741 miles (2,802 kilometres) and flew 579 miles (933 kilometres) for 39 minutes before hitting a target area on the sea off the east coast, according to North Korea.
Washington, Japan and South Korea gave similar figures, and US experts said the trajectory implied the device could reach Alaska.
North Korea is subject to multiple sets of United Nations sanctions over its atomic and missile programs, which it says it needs to protect itself against a possible invasion.
It regularly issues bloodcurdling threats against its 'imperialist enemy' Washington, and has long sought a rocket capable of delivering a warhead to the continental United States.
Russia and China joined diplomatic forces on Tuesday and called on North Korea, South Korea and the US to sign up to a Chinese de-escalation plan designed to defuse tensions around Pyongyang's missile program.
The plan would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and the US and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale missile exercises, both moves aimed at paving the way for multilateral talks.
The initiative was set out in a joint statement from the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries issued shortly after President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping held wide-ranging talks in the Kremlin.
Russia and China both share a land border with North Korea and have been involved in past efforts to try to calm tensions between Pyongyang and the West.
Moscow and Beijing used the same joint declaration to call on Washington to immediately halt deployment of its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a move Washington says is necessitated by the North Korean missile threat.
North Korea's missile launch on Tuesday prompted control specialist Jeffrey Lewis to respond on Twitter: 'That's it. It's an ICBM. An ICBM that can hit Anchorage not San Francisco, but still.'
China's UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, warned on Monday that further escalation of already high tensions with North Korea risks getting out of control 'and the consequences would be disastrous'.
On a trip to Moscow, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on Monday to 'jointly push for a proper settlement of the (Korean) peninsula issue via dialogue and negotiation', according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The American and South Korean militaries have conducted live fire exercises, launching surface-to-surface tactical missiles into neutral waters as a show of force against the latest North Korean ballistic test that coincided with American Independence Day.
“Eighth US Army and Republic of Korea (ROK) military personnel conducted a combined event exercising assets countering North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions on July 4,” United States Forces in Korea said in a statement.
“This exercise utilized the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and the Republic of Korea Hyunmoo Missile II, which fired missiles into territorial waters of South Korea along the East Coast,” the military statement added.
US forces also warned that in the case of any further provocation from the North, the missile systems can be “rapidly deployed and engaged” to provide “deep strike precision capability” under all weather conditions.
The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is a guided surface-to-surface missile (SSM) produced by Lockheed Martin. It has a range of some 300 kilometers, and can strike targets deeps inside enemy territory. The guided missile can be fired from multiple rocket launchers, including the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) M270, and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
The South Korean Hyunmoo II missile has a range of up to 800 kilometers, but because of the special US-South Korean 2012 agreement, its flight distance has been reduced. The domestically built missile was tested four times prior to Tuesday’s launch, the last time on June 23. South Korea’s ballistic-missile family includes the Hyunmoo-2A with a range of 300 km kilometers and the Hyunmoo-2B with a range of 500 km, the New York Times noted.
The US Pacific Command initially identified the projectile fired by North Korea as a land-based, intermediate-range ballistic missile. American military data indicated that it flew some 930 kilometers over 37 minutes. Yet, and despite the assessment, the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, lent credibility to North Korea's claim that it launched an ICBM.
“The United States strongly condemns North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world,” Tillerson said in a statement.
Tillerson said global action is required to stop what he called the North Korean “global threat,” as he warned countries against supporting Pyongyang. “We will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.”
The US also called a United Nations Security Council meeting Wednesday to discuss the latest test launch by North Korea.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, meeting in Moscow, called for a freeze of Kim Jong-un’s nuclear and ballistic programs which are in breach of UNSC resolutions.
China and Russia, which share a land border with North Korea, also urged the US and South Korea to desist from conducting war games in the region. Moscow and Beijing said North Korean concerns should be respected in order to peacefully resolve the conflict.