ABC News(WASHINGTON) — A North Korean state broadcaster has aired video of this week’s missile launch, showing the moment the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) took off, leaving plumes of smoke fanning out along the earth in its wake.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had previously confirmed North Korea’s claim that it launched the ICBM, which he portrayed as a new escalation of threat.
“The United States strongly condemns North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Tillerson said in a statement. “Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the test was a gift for the U.S., in honor of the Fourth of July, state news agency KCNA reported. “He, with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the U.S. would be displeased to witness the DPRK’s strategic option as it was given a ‘package of gifts’ on its ‘Independence Day.'”
The missile, which ultimately fell into the sea between in the Sea of Japan the Korean Peninsula and Japan, was launched into a high-altitude trajectory of 1,730 miles and flew horizontally about 575 miles, according to the U.S. and South Korea.
The missile was launched from an airfield in Kusong, a city in North Korea’s far northwestern corner, an area used for launches in the past.
A spokesman for Japan’s Cabinet said the missile landed inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 miles from its shores.
In response to the launch, the U.S. Army and military personnel from South Korea conducted a missile exercise of their own, firing two short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Army said in a statement, “countering North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions.”
A defense official said the U.S.-South Korean “show of force” involved two missiles: one ATACMS fired from the U.S. and one Hyunmoo II fired by the South Korean military.
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