North Korea, defying calls to rein in its weapons program, fired a ballistic missile that landed in the sea near Russia on Sunday, days after a new leader in South Korea came to power pledging to engage Pyongyang in dialogue.
The U.S. military’s Pacific Command said it was assessing the type of missile that was fired but it was “not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile”. The U.S. threat assessment has not changed from a national security standpoint, a U.S. official said.
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said the missile could be a new type. It flew for 30 minutes before dropping into the sea between North Korea’s east coast and Japan. North Korea has consistently test-fired missiles in that direction.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the missile landed 97 km (60 miles) south of Russia’s Vladivostok region, prompting the White House to reference Moscow in a statement about the incident.
“With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil – in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan – the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased,” the White House said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump.
The launch served as a call for all nations to implement stronger sanctions against North Korea, it added.
North Korea is widely believed to be developing an intercontinental missile tipped with a nuclear weapon that is capable of reaching the United States. Trump has vowed not to let that happen.
The missile flew 700 km (430 miles) and reached an altitude of more than 2,000 km (1,245 miles), according to officials in South Korea and Japan, further and higher than an intermediate-range missile North Korea successfully tested in February from the same region of Kusong, northwest of its capital, Pyongyang.