North Korea fired an advanced ballistic missile in the early hours of Wednesday morning, shattering a 75-day lull in rocket tests that US and South Korean officials had hoped could be the foundation for talks with the reclusive regime.
The rocket, launched from an area north of Pyongyang, flew roughly 1,000km before crashing into the Sea of Japan. The missile, however, reached an apogee of 4,500km, suggesting it was an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach most of the US.
“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken,” said Jim Mattis, US defence secretary. “It’s a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world, basically.”
In addition, China expressed “grave concern” on Wednesday after North Korea fired what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed close to Japan.
China hopes all parties act cautiously to preserve peace and stability, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing.