WASHINGTON – The missile launched Friday by North Korea was an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, the Pentagon said, marking the second time this month Kim Jong Un has demonstrated a theoretical capability of striking a portion of U.S. territory.
The missile was launched on a lofted, or heightened, trajectory that limited the distance it travelled, but data collected by U.S. radars, satellites and other sensors showed that it was theoretically capable of travelling at least 5,500 kilometres on a normal trajectory. That is the minimum distance to be classified by the U.S. as an ICBM.
President Donald Trump has said he will not allow North Korea to obtain an ICBM that can deliver a nuclear warhead.
READ MORE: North Korea fires missile towards Japan
“We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected,” a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said. He said it was estimated to have travelled about 1,000 kilometres, or 620 miles, before landing in the Sea of Japan.
The North American Aerospace Defence Command determined the missile did not pose a threat to North America, he said.
On July 4, North Korea launched a ballistic missile that was the judged by the U.S. to be of ICBM range — the first of its kind for North Korea. Private analysts estimated that if it had been launched on a normal trajectory, it could have reached parts of Alaska.
Military options being considered
South Korean officials discussed military options with U.S. officials later on Friday, Reuters reports.
General Lee Sun-jin, chairman of the South Korean Joint Chief of Staff, spoke with Marine General Joseph Dunford and Admiral Harry Harris, the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, by phone.
“During the call Dunford and Harris expressed the ironclad commitment to the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance. The three leaders also discussed military response options,” Captain Greg Hicks, a spokesman for Dunford, told Reuters.
*With a file from Reuters