Military

North Korea has launched biggest-ever intercontinental missile with ‘potential to strike entire US mainland’

North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile with enough range to hit the US mainland, Japan’s defence minister says.

The missile landed in the sea roughly 210km (130 miles) west of Hokkaido.

The US has condemned the launch, while South Korea has ordered stronger deterrence measures against the North.

On Thursday North Korean FM Choe Son Hui warned of a “fiercer” response to any increased US military presence in the region.

It also launched a short range ballistic missile the same day.

That followed Sunday’s meeting between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, US President Joe Biden and Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida in Cambodia, in which the three countries agreed to increase their military co-operation.

On Friday US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Mr Biden had been briefed and the US would consult with partners.

North Korea has fired more than 50 missiles over the past two months, most of them short-range. These long-range launches are rarer, and pose a direct threat to the US, as the missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads to anywhere on the US mainland.

The latest intercontinential ballistic missile (ICBM) was fired at 10:15 local time (02:15 GMT) from near the North Korean capital Pyongyang, military chiefs in Seoul said.

It reached an altitude of 6,100km on a lofted trajectory and travelled 1,000km (621 miles), reaching a speed of Mach 22, South Korea’s military said.

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