President Donald Trump called an emergency meeting on the Fourth of July to formulate a ‘measured response’ to North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile test, amid fears it could reach as far as Alaska.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The United States today confirmed that North Korea did in fact successfully test launch an inter-continental ballistic missile Monday night, a missile that is absolutely of reaching any part of Alaska. Today, President Trump called for an emergency meeting to discuss what the official US response is going to be. Something tells me that it’s not going to be more sanctions.
North Korea declared Tuesday that it had finally achieved its dream of building an intercontinental ballistic missile, saying it would ‘fundamentally put an end to the US nuclear war threat and blackmail’.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later confirmed the latest missile test was with an intercontinental ballistic missile. And Tillerson says that’s a new escalation of the threat posed to the United States and the world by North Korea.
The launch, which came as the United States prepared to mark its Independence Day, triggered a Twitter outburst from Trump who urged China to ‘put a heavy move’ on North Korea to ‘end this nonsense once and for all’.
US military and national security officials are now holding the unexpected meeting to determine if leader Kim Jong-un’s claim his country fired an intercontinental missile is true, Trump administration sources told CNN.
The US has also requested a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council on North Korea’s latest missile launch, a spokesman for the US mission to the United Nations says.
The spokesman said the meeting of the 15-member council was likely to be scheduled for Wednesday.
If data and intelligence proves the ICBM was launched, officials say Trump would potentially approve a ‘measured response’ to deal with North Korea. Potential responses include sending additional troops to the region and possibly more sanctions.
North Korea has long sought to build a rocket capable of delivering an atomic warhead to the United States – something Trump has vowed ‘won’t happen’.
In an announcement of the missile test, North Korean officials called the launch, which leader Kim Jong-un supervised, a ‘glistening miracle’.
The Hwasong-14 ICBM reached an altitude of about 1,741 miles (2,802 kilometres) and flew 579 miles (933 kilometres) for 39 minutes before hitting a target area on the sea off the east coast, according to North Korea.
Washington, Japan and South Korea gave similar figures, and US experts said the trajectory implied the device could reach Alaska.
North Korea is subject to multiple sets of United Nations sanctions over its atomic and missile programs, which it says it needs to protect itself against a possible invasion. It regularly issues bloodcurdling threats against its ‘imperialist enemy’ Washington, and has long sought a rocket capable of delivering a warhead to the continental United States.
Russia and China joined diplomatic forces on Tuesday and called on North Korea, South Korea and the US to sign up to a Chinese de-escalation plan designed to defuse tensions around Pyongyang’s missile program.
The plan would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and the US and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale missile exercises, both moves aimed at paving the way for multilateral talks.
The initiative was set out in a joint statement from the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries issued shortly after President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping held wide-ranging talks in the Kremlin.
Russia and China both share a land border with North Korea and have been involved in past efforts to try to calm tensions between Pyongyang and the West.
Moscow and Beijing used the same joint declaration to call on Washington to immediately halt deployment of its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a move Washington says is necessitated by the North Korean missile threat.
North Korea’s missile launch on Tuesday prompted control specialist Jeffrey Lewis to respond on Twitter: ‘That’s it. It’s an ICBM. An ICBM that can hit Anchorage not San Francisco, but still.’
David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote on the organisation’s allthingsnuclear blog that the available figures implied the missile ‘could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory’.
‘That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.’ source