White House condemns North Korea’s ICBM launch capable of reaching mainland US

A passerby looks at a TV screen in Tokyo showing a news report on North Korea’s ballistic missile launch on Friday. (Kyodo via Reuters)

US officials on Friday condemned North Korea’s launch of a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile, which Japan’s defense minister said had the ability to reach the entire mainland.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok, Vice President Kamala Harris called the launch a “brazen violation” of several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Harris called an emergency meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit with leaders from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to condemn the launch at a previously unscheduled media briefing.

“It destabilizes security in the region and unnecessarily raises tensions,” Harris said. “We strongly condemn these actions and again call on North Korea to stop further illegal, destabilizing actions.”

Kamala Harris sits, socially distanced, at a table with other leaders in front of a sign that reads: APEC 2022 Thailand.

Vice President Kamala Harris holds an emergency meeting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Friday to discuss North Korea’s ballistic missile launch. (Haiyun Jiang/Pool Photo via AP)

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the launch demonstrated the threat North Korea’s “illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs” pose to its neighbors, including South Korea and Japan.

According to South Korean and Japanese officials, the suspected ICBM was launched from the Soonan area in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang early Friday and landed in waters west of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

According to Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, the missile is believed to have flown about 620 miles in a high orbit and reached a maximum altitude of 3,728 miles.

Depending on the weight of any warhead it carried, Hamada estimated the missile could have a range of more than 9,000 miles, “in which case the entire US mainland would be within its range,” he said.

Fighter jets flying in formation over mountains.

South Korean and US fighter jets take part in a joint air exercise in South Korea on Friday. (South Korean Defense Ministry via AP)

“North Korea continues to carry out provocative actions with an unprecedented frequency,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at the APEC summit. “There is a possibility that North Korea will launch further missiles.”

Harris urged North Korea to refrain from further provocations and start diplomatic dialogue. “The countries represented here will continue to urge North Korea to commit to serious and sustained diplomacy,” he said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has long been known to conduct such missile tests during major international summits.

Earlier this week, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile in apparent protest of a tripartite summit in Cambodia between Kishida, South Korean President Yun Suk-yeol and President Biden.

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