North Korea launches missile toward Japan; no damage reported
WASHINGTON — The U.S. detected a ballistic missile launch out of North Korea at approximately 10:45 a.m. eastern time on Friday, the Pentagon confirmed to CNN.
They are assessing the launch and will have more soon.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Japanese broadcaster NHK: “I have received the first report that North Korea again launched a missile and it possibly landed inside the exclusive economic zone.”
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile launched by North Korea possibly flew for approximately 45 minutes.
Suga told reporters there is no damage to any vessel or aircraft — adding that the missile is believed to have fallen in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff have also confirmed that North Korea fired an unidentified missile.
The Pentagon is still working to assess the type of ballistic missile that was launched — the ongoing assessment from the US intelligence community in recent months has been that North Korea has accelerated its intercontinental range ballistic missile program.
The US believes that North Korea will be able to launch a reliable nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by early 2018, a US official familiar with the latest intelligence assessment confirmed to CNN Wednesday.
That would be an acceleration of two years from previous estimates that put Pyongyang three to five years from fully developing long-range missile capabilities.
The official clarified to CNN that while North Korea can currently get a missile “off the ground,” there are still a lot of undetermined variables about guidance, re-entry and the ability to hit a specific target.
Pyongyang conducted its last ICBM test on July 4. Friday’s test would mark North Korea’s 12th missile test this year.