North Korea test-fires missile with range to strike U.S. mainland, Japan says
North Korea's military test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday morning local time that landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, Japanese officials said.
Why it matters: The missile that can carry nuclear warheads had a range that could hit the U.S. mainland, Japan's defense minister said, per the BBC. It was the North Korean military's second ICBM launch reported this month.
- The White House issued a statement vowing to take "all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland" and South Korean and Japanese allies.
- Vice President Kamala Harris convened a meeting on the launch with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Bangkok.
- They vowed that a North Korean nuclear test "would be met with a strong and resolute response from the international community," but "the path to dialogue remains open," per a readout.
Details: Japan's Defense Ministry said the weapon was fired eastward from near North Korea's western coast around 10:14 am, landing near Japan's coast, per the Japan Times.
- The missile landed in the sea some 130 miles west of Hokkaido, according to Japanese and South Korean officials.
- "We naturally lodged a strong protest against North Korea, which has repeated its provocations with unprecedented frequency," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters in Thailand, where he's attending the APEC summit, per Reuters.
What they're saying: National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson in a statement said the U.S. "strongly condemns" Pyongyang "for its test of a long-range ballistic missile" that "needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region."
- Watson, Harris and the APEC leaders all noted that the launch was a "brazen violation" of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
- Watson said it showed that Pyongyang prioritized its "unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people" as she called on the country to "come to the table for serious negotiations."
- "The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions and instead choose diplomatic engagement."
The big picture: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has overseen a series of missile launches in recent weeks, which state media described as "tactical nuclear" drills that represented an "obvious warning" to the U.S. and South Korea.
- The latest launch came one day after North Korea's military fired a short-range ballistic missile into the sea and warned of a "fiercer" response to the U.S. and its allies.
- This was in response to President Biden's pledge with the leaders of South Korea and Japan last week to forge closer ties, while condemning Pyongyang's recent military action.
- Watson said Biden had been briefed on the latest launch and intended to build on that agreement.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.