The stakes just got even higher on the Korean Peninsula: North Korea says the missile it test-launched early Tuesday was an intercontinental ballistic missile, not the intermediate-range missile that US and South Korean authorities initially said they detected. North Korea's military described the launch of the Hwasong-14 as the "final step" in creating a "confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth," though other nations have yet to confirm that the missile really was an ICBM. The latest:
- Authorities in Japan and South Korea did not comment on whether they now believe the launch, thought to have been Pyongyang's most successful yet, was an ICBM, the AP reports. Confirmation may require retrieving parts of the missile, which landed in the Sea of Japan.
- If the missile is confirmed to have been an ICBM, Pyongyang could now be capable of striking the US and will have a much stronger hand in dealing with Washington, reports the Guardian.
- According to US Pacific Command, the missile flew for 37 minutes on a very high trajectory, landing in waters Japan considers to be part of its exclusive economic zone. In a look at the technical issues involved, CNN reports that Pyongyang aimed the missile high to test it without causing a major international incident.
- Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will ask the leaders of China and Russia to do more to help stop Pyongyang's missile program, Reuters reports. "Leaders of the world will gather at the G20 meeting. I would like to strongly call for solidarity of the international community on the North Korean issue," he said.
- David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists says the missile could have reached 4,160 miles on a standard trajectory, which "would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska." But experts believe that Pyongyang still lacks the technology to target a place accurately or miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit on an ICBM, the BBC reports.
- Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, tells the New York Times that the missile appears to be the longest-range one North Korea has ever tested. "It's a very big deal—it looks like North Korea tested an ICBM," he says. "Even if this is a 7,000-km-range missile, a 10,000-km-range missile that can hit New York isn't far off."
(After the launch, President Trump called for a "heavy move" from China