North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Tuesday, ending a more than two-month long pause in military aggression from the isolated communist regime.
The missile was launched from a base just south of North Korean capital Pyongyang early Wednesday local time, according to Pentagon spokesman Robert Manning.
The missile stayed airborne for just under an hour and flew more than 600 miles before splashing into the Sea of Japan, according to officials. Initial assessments indicated that the missile was of intercontinental caliber, but Manning stressed that the launch posed no threat to the U.S. or its allies.
“Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad,” Manning said in a statement. “We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation.”
The launch came just hours after Japanese officials detected radio signals suggesting that North Korea was preparing a launch. Last week, U.S. military experts said North Korea could conduct a new missile test within days.
The launch also comes just days after President Trump put North Korea back on a list of countries that the U.S. government considers sponsors of terrorism.
North Korea last conducted a rocket test on Sept. 15, when it fired an intermediate ballistic missile over Japan.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that President Trump was briefed on the launch while the “missile was still in the air.”
Trump was expected to address the missile launch at a White House press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Despite sanctions and international pushback, North Korea has continued to develop its missile program. Some experts speculate that the secretive North Korean regime might already be able to mount nuclear warheads to ballistic missiles capable of reaching continental U.S.
Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un have engaged in a harsh war of words for months.
Trump has repeatedly derided Kim as “rocket man” and recently suggested over Twitter that the ruthless 33-year-old leader is “short and fat.” North Korean state media responded by declaring that Trump had been “sentenced to death by the Korean people.”
With News Wire Services