SEOUL — The United Nations Security Council will convene an emergency meeting Wednesday, after North Korea claimed to have achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear state by successfully launching a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking “the whole mainland of the U.S.”
The leaders of South Korea and Japan agreed to seek additional U.N. sanctions against the reclusive nation in a 20 minute phone call following the launch of the Hwasong-15 ICBM on Wednesday.
“President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to further intensify their countries’ cooperation to put stronger pressure and sanctions against North Korea, noting they can no longer tolerate North Korea’s threats to security,” Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan told reporters, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
The Hwasong-15 appears to be the longest-range missile ever tested by the North. The missile flew about 600 miles in a high trajectory, but would have had a range of 8,100 miles had it flown in a flat trajectory, according to calculations by David Wright, an expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists. That would make it capable of reaching Washington, D.C.
North Korean news agency KCNA issued a report stating that the Hwasong-15 carried a “super-large heavy warhead.” The report said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched the launch and “declared with pride that now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.”
State television also ran a special broadcast on the launch, which showed Kim personally signing the launch order.
The missile was launched from Sain Ni, near the capital of Pyongyang, and splashed down into the Sea of Japan, according to the Pentagon. The missile landed inside Japan’s Economic Exclusion Zone.
Following the test, President Trump told reporters that the U.S. “will take care of it. … It is a situation that we will handle.”
In a phone call after the launch, Trump and Japan’s Abe “reaffirmed their commitment to combat the North Korean threat,” the White House said. Trump also spoke with South Korea’s Moon and “reaffirmed their strong condemnation of North Korea’s reckless campaign to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”
The State Department announced it is launching an international effort to step up pressure on North Korea that could include interdicting ships carrying goods to and from that country.