North Korea fired intercontinental ballistic missile, initial assessment shows: US official

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An initial assessment shows that North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) today that traveled 620 miles horizontally into the Sea of Japan, a U.S. official said.

Assessments of the launch, which was detected at about 10:45 a.m. ET, are continuing.

South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said North Korea launched a missile at 11:41 p.m. local time, according to Yonhap News Agency in South Korea.

The Japanese government said it believes a North Korean missile was launched and then fell in waters off Japan’s coast, in what’s known as the Exclusive Economic Zone. Japan’s coast guard is warning ships in the area to look out for debris and alert the government if anything is found, according to NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization. A senior Japanese official said the missile flew for approximately 45 minutes.

Friday’s ballistic missile launch is North Korea’s 11th ballistic missile test this year and the first since North Korea launched an historic ICBM on July 4, an action U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said represented “a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region and the world.”

That ICBM flew at a trajectory of 1,730 miles above Earth for 37 minutes before crashing into the Sea of Japan.

A U.S. official told ABC News earlier this week that North Korea could test another ICBM as early as Wednesday night.

U.S. officials had suspected a test could occur on July 27 to mark the North Korean holiday known as “Day of Victory,” which celebrates the end of hostilities in the Korean War in 1953.

But rainy weather at the launch location and technical difficulties appeared to have prevented a launch until late Friday night.

This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.

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