White House condemns North Korea’s launch of ICBM with potential to reach mainland US

A passerby looks at a television screen.

A passerby watches a television screen in Tokyo showing a news report about North Korea firing a ballistic missile on Friday. (Kyodo via Reuters)

US officials on Friday condemned North Korea’s launch of a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile, which Japan’s defense minister says has the potential to reach the entire mainland United States.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok, Vice President Kamala Harris called the launch a “brutal violation” of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Harris called an emergency meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit with leaders from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to condemn the launch in an previously unscheduled press briefing.

“It destabilizes security in the region and unnecessarily heightens tensions,” Harris said. “We strongly condemn these actions and we again call on North Korea to halt further unlawful, destabilizing actions.”

Kamala Harris sits, socially distanced, at a table with other leaders in front of a sign reading: APEC 2022 Thailand.

Vice President Kamala Harris is holding an emergency meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Friday to discuss North Korea’s ballistic missile launches. (Haiyun Jiang/pool photo via AP)

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the launch demonstrates the threat North Korea’s “illegitimate weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs pose” to its neighbors, including South Korea and Japan.

According to South Korean and Japanese officials, the suspected ICBM launched early Friday from the Soonan area in the North Korean capital on Pyongyang and landed in waters west of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

According to Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, the missile would have flown about 1,000 kilometers in a high orbit and reached a maximum altitude of 6,000 kilometers.

Depending on the weight of each warhead it carried, Hamada estimated the missile could have a range of more than 15,000 miles, “in which case the entire US mainland would be within its range,” he said.

Fighter jets fly in formation over mountains.

South Korean and American fighter jets will participate in a joint air exercise in South Korea on Friday. (South Korean Ministry of Defense via AP)

“North Korea continues to engage in provocative actions with an unprecedented frequency,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at the APEC summit. “There is a possibility that North Korea will launch even more missiles.”

Harris urged North Korea to refrain from further provocations and to enter into diplomatic dialogue. “The countries represented here will continue to urge North Korea to commit to serious and sustainable diplomacy,” she said.

It has long been known that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un conducts such missile tests at major international summits.

Earlier this week, North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile in apparent protest against a trilateral summit in Cambodia between Kishida, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and President Biden.

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