North Korea missile went 10 times higher than the international space station

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea launched what officials said was likely an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that flew high into space before landing near Japan on Wednesday, showing Pyongyang may now be able to reach Washington, D.C. with its weapons.

The missile test, North Korea's first since mid-September, came a week after U.S. President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a U.S. list of countries it says support terrorism, allowing it to impose more sanctions.

North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests under its leader, Kim Jong Un, in defiance of international sanctions. Trump has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States.

The South Korean military said the missile reached an altitude of around 4,500 km (2,800 miles) - more than 10 times the height of the international space station - and flew 960 km (600 miles) before landing in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

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How to survive a nuclear attack
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How to survive a nuclear attack

What should you do in the event of a nearby nuclear attack? Click through to learn more. 

(Photo by Lambert/Getty Images)

Seek shelter immediately, towards the center of a building or -- preferably -- a basement. Aim for the same type of shelter you would utilize in the event of a tornado. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

The next three slides are examples of nuclear shelters that exist around the world. 

(Image via Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

The entrance of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter model room, which is placed in the basement of the company's CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house, is pictured in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. (Photo via REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
A fallout shelter sign hangs on the Mount Rona Baptist Church, on August 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. In the early 60's Washington was at the center of civil defense preparations in case of a nuclear blast, with over one thousand dedicated public fallout shelters in schools, churches and government buildings. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A 'shelter' sign is displayed at the entrance to a subway station in Seoul on July 6, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. According to the metropolitan government, South Korea's city subway stations serve a dual purpose with over 3,300 designated as shelters in case of aerial bombardment including any threat from North Korea. The U.S. said that it will use military force if needed to stop North Korea's nuclear missile program after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday into Japanese waters. The latest launch have drawn strong criticism from the U.S. as experts believe the ICBM has the range to reach the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Dense materials, including dirt or thick walls, provide the best defense to fallout radiation.

(Photo via Getty Images)

If possible, take a warm shower -- but do not use conditioner, as it can bond to nuclear particles. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

Do not seek shelter in a car, as they won't provide adequate protection, and you should not attempt to outrun nuclear fallout. 

(Photo by Noel Hendrickson via Getty Images)

The nuclear fallout zone shrinks quickly after an attack, but the less dangerous "hot zone" still grows. 

(Image via Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Once you are sheltered, do not leave. Listen to a radio or other announcements. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

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U.S., Japanese and South Korean officials all agreed it was likely an ICBM but it did not pose a threat to the United States, its territories or allies, the Pentagon said.

“It went higher frankly than any previous shot they’ve taken, a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically," U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House.

Trump spoke by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-In, with all three leaders reaffirming their commitment to combat the North Korean threat.

"It is a situation that we will handle," Trump told reporters at the White House.

President Moon told Trump during their call that North Korea's missile technology seemed to have improved, a spokesman for the South Korean leader's office said.

Trump, who was briefed on the missile while it was in flight, said it did not change his administration's approach to North Korea, which has included new curbs to hurt trade between China and North Korea.

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North Korea releases photo that appears to show new missile plan
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North Korea releases photo that appears to show new missile plan
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un looks on during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
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ALL OPTIONS

Washington has said repeatedly that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea.

"Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now," U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. 

Other than carrying out existing U.N. sanctions, "the international community must take additional measures to enhance maritime security, including the right to interdict maritime traffic" traveling to North Korea, Tillerson said in a statement.

The U.N. Security Council was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss the launch, which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned.

"This is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions and shows complete disregard for the united view of the international community," his spokesman said in a statement.

North Korea will make an announcement at 0330 GMT, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said, citing North Korean media which gave no further details.

U.S. EAST COAST IN RANGE?

An official at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said they presumed the missile was a Hwasong-14 - a two-stage ICBM North Korea tested twice in July.

Japanese officials said the missile flew for 53 minutes and broke up before landing in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

"If these numbers are correct, then if flown on a standard trajectory rather than this lofted trajectory, this missile would have a range of more than 13,000 km (8,100 miles) ... Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States," the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said.

However, it was unclear how heavy a payload the missile was carrying, and it was uncertain if it could carry a large nuclear warhead that far, the nonprofit science advocacy group added.

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Inside a nuclear bunker in Japan
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Inside a nuclear bunker in Japan
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., wears a gas mask as he presents the model room for the company� nuclear shelters during an interview with Reuters in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A toilet is pictured in Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter model room in the basement of its CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., poses wearing a gas mask at a model room for the company� nuclear shelters in the basement of his house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., demonstrates how to use the exit of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter model room installed in the basement of his house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., walks into a basement where the model room for the company� nuclear shelters is installed during an interview with Reuters in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
The house of Seiichiro Nishimoto, president of the Shelter Co., where the model room for the company� nuclear shelters is installed, is pictured in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., poses in front of a blast door at the entrance of a model room for his company� nuclear shelters during an interview with Reuters in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., demonstrates how to use a radiation-blocking air purifier in case of power outage at the model room for Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelters in the basement of his house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Emergency foods are seen in the model room of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter in the basement of its CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Radiation-blocking air purifiers are seen in the model room of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter in the basement of its CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., demonstrates how to use a radiation-blocking air purifier in case of power outage at the model room for Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelters in the basement of his house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A gas mask, a Geiger counter and emergency goods are seen in Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter model room in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Radiation-blocking air purifiers are seen in the model room of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter in the basement of its CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A blast door is seen at the entrance of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter model room, placed in the basement of its CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
The entrance of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter model room, which is placed in the basement of the company's CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house, is pictured in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., poses wearing a gas mask at a model room for the company� nuclear shelters in the basement of his house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
The exit of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter model room is pictured in the basement of its CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., poses wearing a gas mask at a model room for the company� nuclear shelters in the basement of his house in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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Either way, experts believe North Korea will soon have the ability to threaten the continental United States, if it doesn't already.

"We don't have to like it, but we're going to have to learn to live with North Korea's ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons," said Jeffrey Lewis, head of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of Strategic Studies.

Minutes after the North fired the missile, South Korea's military conducted a missile-firing test in response, the South Korean military said.

South Korea's Moon said the launch had been anticipated and the government had been preparing for it. There was no choice but for countries to keep applying pressure and sanctions against North Korea, he added.

"The situation could get out of control if North Korea perfects its ICBM technology," Moon said, according to the Blue House after a national security council meeting.

"North Korea shouldn't miscalculate the situation and threaten South Korea with a nuclear weapon, which could elicit a possible pre-emptive strike by the United States."

U.S. stocks briefly pared gains on the news but the S&P 500 index was up almost 1 percent at the close and Asian markets largely shrugged off the news.

After firing missiles at a rate of about two or three a month since April, North Korea paused its missile launches in September, following a missile it fired that passed over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island on Sept. 15 and far out into the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea has said its weapons programs are a necessary defense against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.

Last week, North Korea denounced Trump's decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a "serious provocation and violent infringement."

A U.S. government source said the U.S. assessment was the launch was the latest in a well-calculated and serious series of tests to develop and perfect North Korea missile systems rather than any response to Trump.

Trump has traded insults and threats with Kim and warned in September that the United States would have no choice but to "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

(Reporting by Christine Kim in Seoul, Linda Sieg, William Mallard, Timothy Kelly in Tokyo, Mark Hosenball, John Walcott, Steve Holland and Tim Ahmann in Washington and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Yara Bayoumy, David Brunnstrom and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Grant McCool, Michael Perry & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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